Here are six key updates in the treatment of spinal cord injuries in the past six months:
The Tim and Caroline Reynolds Center for Spinal Stimulation at Kessler Foundation opened in East Hanover, N.J., in January. The facility has more than 50 researchers focusing on spinal stimulation research and restoring function in people with paralysis. Gail Forrest, PhD, who specializes in applying electrical stimulation to spinal cord injury research, was appointed director of the center.
Stem Cells Translational Medicine awarded Mohamad Khazaei, PhD, its Young Investigator Award for his research on cell-based treatments for spinal cord injuries. Dr. Khazaei's paper, "Human Spinal Oligodendrogenic Neural Progenitor Cells Promote Functional Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury by Axonal Remyelination Following Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury," studied the use of neurons and oligodendrocytes to achieve better functional recovery for spinal cord injury.
Researchers from Columbia University School of Engineering in New York City developed a robotic trunk support device to improve core control in patients with spinal cord injuries. Designed for patients with spinal cord injuries who typically use a wheelchair, the Trunk-Support Trainer, or TruST, is a motorized belt placed on the user's torso to determine postural control limits and sitting workspace area. When a user moves his or her upper body, the belt provides stabilizing forces.
Researchers from Providence, R.I.-based Brown University and Intel are collaborating to develop an Intelligent Spine Interface for spinal cord injuries. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded a $6.3 million grant for the research, which is building on work from Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville.
NervGen Pharma is planning its clinical development strategy for its compound, NVG-291, in spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis patients. NVG-291 is a linear peptide comprised of common amino acids. The expansion of its Phase 1 trial on spinal cord injury patients will begin in the second half of 2020.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent for Lineage Cell Therapeutics' stem cell-derived treatment for spinal cord injury. The patent covers processes that involve injecting OPCs obtained from a pluripotent human stem cell line into the spinal cord injury site and covers human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cell-derived OPCs.