Novel enzyme treatment may reduce inflammation and scarring that prevent neuronal regeneration, Israeli researchers say

New study offers hope of recovery from spinal-cord injury

By —— Bio and Archives--August 1, 2018

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New study offers hope of recovery from spinal-cord injury
An Israeli study shows great promise for improving the outcome of spinal-cord injuries, which often cause permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions.

In experiments with mice, scientists from Tel Aviv University found that injecting a potent enzyme hours after spinal injury can put the brakes on a cascade of pathological events responsible for neuronal death, such as inflammation and scarring.


“Primary mechanical damage to spinal-cord tissue kills a certain amount of neuronal cells. But there’s secondary damage due to the release of excess glutamates, which are responsible for additional functional disability,” explained Dr. Yona Goldshmit of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University.

“The main idea is to reduce the secondary damage as soon as possible — to block the body’s natural reaction to spinal cord trauma. This is the role of the enzyme injection we devised,” he said.

Goldshmit conducted the study with TAU colleague Dr. Angela Ruban, who worked with the late Prof. Vivian I. Teichberg of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science to develop the “blood glutamate scavenging approach,” a treatment based on controlling the levels of glutamate in patients with diseases including glioblastoma and ALS.

For the present study, Ruban and a research team including Weizmann staff scientist Ghil Jona studied the neuroprotective effect of blood glutamate scavengers in mouse models of spinal-cord injury.

“Our new treatment aims to lower levels of glutamate, which is released in toxic quantities after trauma, by intravenous administration of blood glutamate scavengers,” she said. After receiving the treatment for five consecutive days, the mice significantly recovered from the injury.—More….


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