Case Western Reserve scientists have developed a new chemical compound that shows extraordinary promise in restoring function lost to spinal cord injury. The compound, which the researchers dubbed intracellular sigma peptide (ISP), allowed paralyzed muscles to activate in more than 80 percent of the animals tested. The remarkable study, partly funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Professor of Neurosciences Jerry Silver, PhD, and his team have developed a compound (termed intracellular sigma peptide (ISP) that shows a promising result in restoring movement lost due to spinal cord injury.
Prof. Silver gives some more information on his findings to LSW LifeScienceWorld.
LSW: : The result of the preclinical study conducted in the development of the compound you have named ISP (Intracellular sigma peptide) is satisfactory with regards to the restoration of paralyzed muscle due to spinal cord injury. Some more details on this.
Dr. Jerry Silver: The robustness of the effect was rather remarkable given that 21 of 26 animals regained either 1) over ground walking, 2) sensory-motor coordination (grid walk) and urinary function. Some animals regained 2 behaviors and a minority regained all 3. However, animals that recovered two behaviors were all different.
LSW: Will this study be effective in other causes of paralysis like cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke etc?
JS: We believe that our drug could be effective in a variety of injuries and diseases ( such as ms or stroke or traumatic brain injury or epilepsy etc) where scarring blocks the regeneration of axons. Importantly, isp could foster regeneration in organ systems outside of the cns such as the heart or peripheral nervous system.
LSW: How far this study will help in therapeutic application in future?
JS: We believe that our peptide therapy once optimized for large animals, perhaps coupled with another that would be an effective neuroprotectant, could be a frontline treatment.
LSW:Now you are into preclinical stage. With the result is encouraging, when do you plan to start further research?
JS: We need to show that our strategy can work in a large animal model (cat, dog, pig) and if it does then we can move toward human clinical trials.
LSW:Currently there is no therapeutic drug to help recover movement caused by spinal cord injury. What are your views on the future of this study?
JS: We are very optimistic that because of the robustness of the effect of our drug that maybe we can have the first effective therapy that can be delivered easily via a systemic route of administration. We don’t have to touch the spinal cord