Sydney: A new antibody has shown promising results in reversing the damage caused by injury to the spinal cord, according to new research.
The body produces an inflammatory response after a spinal cord injury that often leads to scarring and permanent nerve damage. There are currently no treatment options.
Research led by Monash University`s Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) and the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) details how a new antibody, created by the US therapeutic antibody company Lpath, blocks the effects of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA).
A molecule released in response to injury, LPA promotes inflammation and nerve cell death, The American Journal of Pathology reports.
The research team, led by Yona Goldshmit of ARMI and Alice Pebay of CERA, demonstrated that by administering the antibody soon after the injury, it was possible to preserve nerve cells and limit the amount of scarring, while substantially reducing the losses in motor function, according to an ARMI and CERA statement.
"By blocking the effects of LPA, we can help nerve cells survive a traumatic injury and this will hopefully lead to better outcomes for patients in the future," Goldshmit said.
Pebay, head of CERA`s Neuroregeneration Unit, said the study offered great hope for a future pharmacological therapy for spinal cord injuries in humans.
"Perhaps this drug will one day be administered in the back of an ambulance, as the patient is being transported to hospital," Pebay said.