Spinal cord injury – enzyme treatment
This research was completed on 31 May 2006
|Project Leader||Professor J W Fawcett PhD, MRCP.|
|Location||Cambridge University Centre for Brain Repair, Cambridge.|
|Grant awarded||7 November 2002|
|Start date||1 June 2003|
|End date||31 May 2006|
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A major problem faced by neurologists caring for those with spinal cord injuries is that damage to the brain and spinal cord cannot be repaired by the body. Therefore, patients with spinal cord injuries can suffer a loss of sensation or are paralysed for the rest of their lives. The only way to bring back muscle control and sensation is to make the nerve fibres regrow down the spinal cord. This does not happen spontaneously because, although the nerve fibres try to regrow, they are blocked by the scar tissue that forms around the injury. With previous Action Research funding, this team recently developed an enzyme treatment that digests components of this scar tissue, allowing some nerve fibres to regrow into the spinal cord. But before this treatment can be given to patients, we need to find out how best to administer it, when after injury it should be applied, and whether it should be given together with other treatments.