Penn Medicine researchers seek to improve spinal discs' early response to injury

Alan Condon -   Print  |

Researchers at Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine discovered a way to pause spinal disc injuries, affording physicians more time to treat them.

Four things to know:

1. The spine research highlights the need to treat the whole disc, not just the inner space, in the hope of identifying new targets for therapy, according to Edward Bonnevie, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at Penn Medicine’s McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory

2. Cells in the outer region of spinal discs begin a subpar healing process when stressed after injuries, which researchers learned can be temporarily blocked with drugs to compose the cells.

3. Researchers found that a biological inhibitor of cell contraction such as fasudil could calm the cells after the shock of losing their stretched state.

4. Specially engineered biomaterials and animal models were used in the study, which was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering on Oct. 14.

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