UC Davis surgeons enroll the first patient in an acute spinal cord injury study

This compound was previously known as Cethrin. Dr Lisa McKerracher is Founder of BioAxone and inventor of Cethrin. It is being developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

UC Davis Health System – Sacramento, California – Neurosurgeons at UC Davis Health System have enrolled the first patient in a study that will determine if a new investigational treatment can safely and effectively improve motor function following acute traumatic cervical spinal cord injury. The treatment, a compound known as VX-210 being developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, could potentially block a molecule that plays a major role in preventing nerve regeneration.

Neurosurgeon Kim Kee

Neurosurgeon Kim Kee is leading the investigational study

The first patient was treated by Ripul Panchal, assistant professor of neurological surgery. The study will eventually include about 150 patients at 35 sites in North America.

Participants must be between 14 and 75 years of age and scheduled to undergo a spinal decompression/stabilization surgery within 72 hours following the initial injury. They will be randomized into three groups: two will receive the compound at two different doses and another will receive a placebo to the site of their injuries during surgery. At least four follow-up evaluations within 12 months after the surgical procedure are required for all participants.

For additional information and enrollment criteria for the VX-210 study at UC Davis, contact Nancy Rudisill at 916-734-3660 or narudisill@ucdavis.edu or visit clinicaltrials.gov.

UC Davis Full Article LINK

Posted in Spinal Research | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

IPS cell therapy and Cyberdyne robotic suit will be teaming up in SCI rehabilitation

Dr. Yoshiyuki Sankai Cyberdyne CEO and  Hideyuki Okano

Dr. Yoshiyuki Sankai Cyberdyne CEO and Hideyuki Okano

Nikkei Asian Review – Keio University is joining hands with Cyberdyne to develop treatments for spinal cord injuries that combine induced pluripotent stem cell therapy with the startup’s wearable cybersuit. The project will proceed in two stages starting this year, with the two parties entering into a partnership agreement.

First, between 20 to 30 patients, many of whom have suffered from debilitating spinal-cord injuries for half a year, will practice walking while wearing Cyberdyne’s robotic assistance suit, called the HAL for Medical Use. These sessions will take place three to five times a week and last an hour each day.

The suit detects nerve signals generated by the brain instructing the leg to walk, then activates the motorized limbs, aiding motion. The trials will determine how well this form of rehabilitation improves patients’ ambulatory functions.

In addition, Keio professor Hideyuki Okano will conduct clinical trials by summer 2017 in which nerve stem cells grown from iPS cells will be transplanted into patients that have suffered spinal cord injuries in order to spur growth of new nerve tissue.

If the results prove positive, Keio and Cyberdyne will commence the second phase a few years later, where chronically handicapped patients unable to recover sufficiently using HAL alone will receive iPS stem cell transplants and resume rehab sessions with HAL. Both iPS regenerative therapy and the HAL suit were developed in Japan, with the government recognizing the suit as a medical device.

The HAL robot was selected as the first winner of the newly established Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare Award in the “7th Robot Award”. The presentation ceremony will take place on October 19, 2016 at Tokyo International Exhibition Center.

Over 100,000 people in Japan are paralyzed or endure other effects of spinal cord injuries. About 5,000 people or more suffer spinal cord injuries each year.

See the Nikkei Asian Review Story HERE

Establishment of Subsidiary Notice in the USA: LINK


FEATURE PRESENTATION: “iPS Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine” Hideyuki Okano, Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine

Cyberdyne and Keio University Agreement Press Release

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Regenerative Medicine, Rehabilitation, Spinal Research, Stem Cell Research | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Researchers activate repair program for nerve fibers

Frank Bradke

Frank Bradke Axonal Growth and Regeneration, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, 53175 Bonn, Germany

Bonn (Germany), October 6th, 2016 – Injuries to the spinal cord can cause paralysis and other permanent disabilities because severed nerve fibers do not regrow. Now, scientists of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) have succeeded in releasing a molecular brake that prevents the regeneration of nerve connections. Treatment of mice with Pregabalin, a drug that acts upon the growth inhibiting mechanism, caused damaged nerve connections to regenerate. Researchers led by neurobiologist Frank Bradke report on these findings in the journal Neuron.

See the Full Article HERE

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Spinal Research | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dignify Therapeutics Receives $3.1 million in NIH Awards for Bladder, Bowel Therapy

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC (RTP) – October 11, 2016 – Dignify Therapeutics LLC, a drug development company focused on restoring bladder and bowel control to people with spinal injury, spina bifida, and other neurological conditions, received three NIH SBIR/STTR grants in the third quarter totaling $3.1 million.  The grants were awarded by the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute on Aging.  The grants support preclinical development of Dignify’s lead product, DTI-100, in preparation for a Phase I clinical study, as well as studies to identify 2nd generation compounds and alternative formulations, through a collaboration with the Division of Pharmacoengineering & Molecular Pharmaceutics at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

See the Full Article Here

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Spinal Research | Tagged | Leave a comment

New $5M Grant to Support Robotics Research for SCI

—by Holly Evarts

Sunil Agrawal: Professor and Director of Robotics and Rehabilitation Laboratory (ROAR)

Sunil Agrawal: Professor and Director of Robotics and Rehabilitation Laboratory (ROAR)

The cost of care for SCI patients is enormous—annually over $3 billion. Studies have shown, however, that activity-based interventions offer a promising approach, and Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine, is at the forefront of research efforts to improve recovery through the development of novel robotic devices and interfaces that help patients retrain their movements.

One of Agrawal’s current projects, “Tethered Pelvic Assist Device (TPAD) and Epidural Stimulation for Recovery of Standing in Spinal Cord Injured Patients,” recently won a five-year $5 million grant from the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Board. The project is a collaboration with co-PI Susan Harkema and Claudia Angeli in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Louisville, KY, and Joel Stein, Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, and Ferne Pomerantz, MD, assistant professor of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine in the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, both at Columbia University Medical Center. Agrawal’s focus is on improving the effectiveness of stand/balance training during SCI rehabilitation by using a unique robotic system—Tethered Pelvic Assist Device (TPAD)—invented in his Robotics and Rehabilitation (ROAR) Laboratory.


Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Rehabilitation, Spinal Research | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Project Edge has launched in Australia for SCI

Professor V Reggie Edgerton, Ph.D

Professor V Reggie Edgerton, Ph.D

Professor Bryce Vissel, Ph.D

Professor Bryce Vissel, Ph.D

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Professor Edgerton, SpinalCure Australia (SpinalCure) and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) have collaborated on Project Edge to establish the first clinical neurostimulation research program outside the USA.

The flagship program in a multi-stream SCI recovery initiative, Project Edge which will sit within the new Centre for Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine at UTS, headed by SpinalCure Fellow, Professor Bryce Vissel.

The impact of the work is expected to be profound and far reaching. A key aim of the program is to develop technologies and treatments which can become an integral part of rehabilitation programs nationwide, resulting in improved clinical, financial, and personal outcomes for people with spinal cord injury.

Hosted by Provost and Senior Vice-President UTS, Peter Booth, the special UT Speaks event featured a lecture by Professor Edgerton and a forum discussion, with panelists including special guests Kerri-Anne Kennerley and SpinalCure CEO Duncan Wallace.


Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Regenerative Medicine, Rehabilitation, Spinal Research | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Program “Steps” Research with Notre Dame and Ohio State

University of Notre Dame Feature:

James Schmiedeler, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame, builds and conducts research with biped robots. He’s quick to point out that physical therapy experience is conspicuously absent from his CV, but as an engineer, he sees parallels. “It’s not too hard as an engineer to look at the human body and think of it as a mechanical system, and if you include the nerves, an electromechanical system,” says Schmiedeler. “Both have ‘actuators’ – we use electric motors on the robots, humans have muscles that are far more efficient than anything we have access to. Both have joints, a rigid structure.”

Schmiedeler is collaborating with researchers at the NeuroRecovery Network at The Ohio State University, including D. Michele Basso, professor and director of research at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Basso and Schmiedeler began exchanging ideas of how their work could complement each other’s after attending a conference. It didn’t take long to discover the shared challenges, and potential strategies.

To start, Schmiedeler worked with OSU on research that evaluated young, healthy subjects walking on a treadmill. Those findings directly informed Schmiedeler’s efforts to improve the design and control of the biped robots in his lab. Together, Schmiedeler and OSU are now utilizing these same principles as a way to understand the difficulties humans experience when relearning to walk after incomplete spinal cord injury.

See the full article and video HERE

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Rehabilitation, Spinal Research | Tagged , , ,

Rice scientists develop Texas-PEG to help knit severed, damaged spinal cords

An illustration shows the process developed at Rice University that uses potassium atom insertion between layers of multiwalled carbon nanotubes to split them into graphene nanoribbons. This is followed by the addition of ethylene oxide (not shown) to render the edges with solubilizing polyethylene glycol addends on the edges. This leaves the flat surfaces of electrically conductive graphene nanoribbons intact to give a conductive surface for neuron growth between the two ends of a severed spinal cord. Courtesy of the Tour Group

The combination of graphene nanoribbons made with a process developed at Rice University and a common polymer could someday be of critical importance to healing damaged spinal cords in people, according to Rice chemist James Tour. The Tour lab has spent a decade working with graphene nanoribbons, starting with the discovery of a chemical process to “unzip” them from multi-walled carbon nanotubes, as revealed in a Nature paper in 2009.

Now their work to develop nanoribbons for medical applications has resulted in a material dubbed Texas-PEG that may help knit damaged or even severed spinal cords. A paper on the results of preliminary animal-model tests appears today in the journal Surgical Neurology International. Graphene nanoribbons customized for medical use by William Sikkema, a Rice graduate student and co-lead author of the paper, are highly soluble in polyethylene glycol (PEG), a biocompatible polymer gel used in surgeries, pharmaceutical products and in other biological applications. When the biocompatible nanoribbons have their edges functionalized with PEG chains and are then further mixed with PEG, they form an electrically active network that helps the severed ends of a spinal cord reconnect. “Neurons grow nicely on graphene because it’s a conductive surface and it stimulates neuronal growth,” Tour said.

An abstract paper on the results of preliminary animal-model tests appears today in the journal Surgical Neurology International. LINK and contains a video link

See the full story by Mike Williams at Rice University News HERE 

See the Engadget Article by Jamie Rigg HERE

See the Science Daily Article HERE

Posted in Biomaterials, Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Regenerative Medicine, Spinal Research | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Early Bird special for W2W 2016 ends today!

In cooperation with our Title Sponsor, Allina Health, this year we will offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to our attendees who are certified professionals.

Today is the last day to register for the Working 2 Walk Symposium at Early Bird Rates.
Working 2 Walk Symposium – October 28-29, 2016 – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Here’s the agenda, speakers and lodging information!

Register Now!

Posted in Unite 2 Fight Paralysis, Working 2 Walk Science & Advocacy Symposium

Paralyzed Man Regains Use of Arms and Hands After Experimental Stem Cell Therapy at Keck Hospital of USC

Asterias OPC.

Asterias OPC.

PRN Newswire: News provided by Keck Medicine of USC. See the Full Article

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Keck Medical Center of USC today announced that a team of doctors became the first in California to inject an experimental treatment made from stem cells, AST-OPC1, into the damaged cervical spine of a recently paralyzed 21-year-old man as part of a multi-center clinical trial.

On March 6, just shy of his 21st birthday, Kristopher (Kris) Boesen of Bakersfield suffered a traumatic injury to his cervical spine when his car fishtailed on a wet road, hit a tree and slammed into a telephone pole.

Parents Rodney and Annette Boesen were warned there was a good chance their son would be permanently paralyzed from the neck down. However, they also learned that Kris could possibly qualify for a clinical study that might help.

Leading the surgical team and working in collaboration with Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center and Keck Medicine of USC, Charles Liu, MD, PhD, director of the USC Neurorestoration Center, injected an experimental dose of 10 million AST-OPC1 cells directly into Kris’ cervical spinal cord in early April.

“Typically, spinal cord injury patients undergo surgery that stabilizes the spine but generally does very little to restore motor or sensory function,” explains Liu. “With this study, we are testing a procedure that may improve neurological function, which could mean the difference between being permanently paralyzed and being able to use one’s arms and hands. Restoring that level of function could significantly improve the daily lives of patients with severe spinal injuries.”

Full Story PRN Newswire LINK

Posted in Regenerative Medicine, Spinal Research, Stem Cell Research | Tagged , , | 2 Comments