Two notable studies on SCI treatment have been featured in the news lately.
In the first study, scientists looked at how neurons are excited by epidural electrical stimulation (e-stim). They wanted to find a way to simulate the same motor effects through chemical compounds. The team tried injecting mice with different compounds for 8-10 weeks. One particular compound, CLP290, helps to produce a certain protein linked to neuron response. According to this Newsweek article, 80% of the mice injected with CLP290 “were able to take steps after four to five weeks of treatment.” It is possible that injecting CLP290 into the bloodstream after a spinal cord injury could have positive effects for humans, as well.
The second study has to do with an enzyme that reduces post-SCI inflammation and scarring. Injecting the enzyme as soon as possible after the injury may mitigate secondary damage. Less inflammation (for example) means less tissue damage, meaning more cells can survive — and meaning more potential recovery. Five days of the treatment “resulted in significant functional recovery” for the mice who were injected, explains researcher Angela Ruban.
Progress on both counts - although if you're invested in the 2009 study on Brilliant Blue G and SCIs (popular with many!), it probably isn't the time to stop eating your blue M&Ms just yet.