SCI 2020: Launching a Decade for Disruption in Spinal Cord Injury Research

The goal of the ‘SCI 2020: Launching a Decade for Disruption in Spinal Cord Injury Research’ conference is to initiate discussion across the SCI research community to launch a new decade of research that disrupts traditional barriers and brings about collaborative efforts to address the key research questions in spinal cord injury research.

This conference is designed to be a comprehensive stakeholder’s meeting to bring diverse experience and voices together with this common goal.  The participants will be challenged to critically evaluate the state of the science, assess areas of scientific, technological and community readiness, and identify the collaborations needed to change the trajectory of research and clinical opportunities for people with SCI.

Objectives:

  1. To address and raise awareness of recent progress and current gaps in SCI research
  2. To provide opportunities for collaboration across basic, translational, clinical research and consumer groups
  3. To identify the top SCI research priorities for next 5-10 years — of and for the SCI research community — at the intersection of Scientific / Technological / Community Readiness

Website Registration and Information LINK

Posted in Advocacy | 4 Comments

Three prong approach bridges complete SCI in rodents

EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland and UCLA (University of California in Los Angeles, California) have collaborated in making severed nerve fibers  regenerate across a complete SCI to form a bridge in rodents.  Their three part recipe for success was reported in Nature, but the first component that stimulates the growth of neurons happens two weeks before injury in their model.  The rodents did not recover functional walking.  The scientists will also have to learn the requirements for the axons to make their appropriate connections with the locomotor circuits below the injury.  That will entail rehabilitation with electrical stimulation to integrate, tune and make the new axons functional so the rodents can walk.  This is not close to clinical translation, but is a very productive collaboration project heading in the right direction toward regeneration.   (cp)

Science Daily Article Link   

EPFL News Link

Scientific American Link

Required growth facilitators propel axon regeneration across complete spinal cord injury. Nature, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0467-6  

Authors:  Mark A. Anderson, Timothy M. O’Shea, Joshua E. Burda, Yan Ao, Sabry L. Barlatey, Alexander M. Bernstein, Jae H. Kim, Nicholas D. James, Alexandra Rogers, Brian Kato, Alexander L. Wollenberg, Riki Kawaguchi, Giovanni Coppola, Chen Wang, Timothy J. Deming, Zhigang He, Gregoire Courtine, Michael V. Sofroniew.

 

 

 

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Work towards finding the right stem cell for SCI therapy

I recently read a wonderful paper published in Nature addressing a stem cell experiment  for spinal cord injury.  This paper is very scientifically detailed, but they show the need for having the right age and origin of stem cell to propagate for making a relay to integrate into the spared circuits.   Don’t let the mention of the DREADD approach intimidate you from tackling this publication and understanding the premise of it’s content.  In order to test the cell relay function, they silenced the electrical activity using a DREADD receptor.  This was an amazing set of experiments that moves us one step closer.  (cp)

Nature Communications volume 9, Article number: 3419 (2018)

Human neuroepithelial stem cell regional specificity enables spinal cord repair through a relay circuit

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

More good news out of UCLA lab on restoring bladder function non-invasive after SCI

A non-invasive method to restore bladder function after a spinal cord injury continues to show progress in the Dr. Daniel Lu laboratory at UCLA.  This experiment showed positive results in 5 people eliminating the need for catheters for up to 4 weeks. (cp)

In UCLA study, magnetic stimulation of lower spine eliminates need for catheter for up to 4 weeks

08/22/2018

UCLA neuroscientists, led by Dr. Daniel Lu, stimulated the lower spinal cord through the skin with a magnetic device placed at the lumbar spine.

UCLA Photo Credit:  UCLA neuroscientists, led by Dr. Daniel Lu, stimulated the lower spinal cord through the skin with a magnetic device placed at the lumbar spine.

“More than 80 percent of the 250,000 Americans living with a spinal cord injury lose the ability to urinate voluntarily after their injury. According to a 2012 study, the desire to regain bladder control outranks even their wish to walk again.

In a study of five men whose injuries occurred five to 13 years ago, UCLA neuroscientists stimulated the lower spinal cord through the skin with a magnetic device placed at the lumbar spine. The research is the first to show that the technique enables people with spinal cord injuries to recover significant bladder control for up to four weeks between treatments. The findings are published today in Scientific Reports”.

Scientific Reports at Nature.com

A Proof-of-Concept Study of Transcutaneous Magnetic Spinal Cord Stimulation for Neurogenic Bladder

Article OPEN Published: 

Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 12549 (2018)

We thank Dr. David McArthur for statistical support and Ms. Naomi Gonzalez for logistical support. This study was supported by Department of Defense (DOD) research grant SC103209 and H&H Evergreen Foundation. The experiments were conducted in the UCLA Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC), which was supported by NIH/National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) UCLA CTSI Grant Number UL1TR000124. TN is supported by NIH NINDS R25 Research Education Grant. DCL is a 1999 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Rehabilitation, Spinal Research | Tagged | 8 Comments

An informative CSPG article out of Robarts Research Institute

One of the important strategies that labs have been focusing on for spinal cord injury has been how to best deal with CSPG (chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans) commonly known as the scar that builds up at the site of injury (lesion) and inhibits regeneration of axons.  The article posted in Journal of Neurotrauma explains what they have found on possible treatments and important issues of where and when a treatment could be applied.   This article from the Arthur Brown lab at Robarts Research Institute in Canada gives a nice summary of the work that has been completed and what scientists know from the hundreds of experiments performed that deal with the problem.   They hope to harness a 2-fold potential of increased neuroplasticity and neuroprotection. (cp)

Todd Hryciw, Nicole M. Geremia, Morgan A. Walker, Xiaoyun Xu, and Arthur Brown
Journal of Neurotrauma
Aug 2018.ahead of print
http://doi.org/10.1089/neu.2018.5928

This work was supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR grant no. MOP 133460) and from the Rick Hansen Institute (G-2015-15).

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Neuroscience Abstracts, Regenerative Medicine, Spinal Research | Tagged ,

Stem cell lab work continues to show progress

Even though we may be years away from a robust stem cell treatment coming to the market for spinal cord injury, the lab work continues to progress and show great promise.  What we don’t know is; which stem cell will have the most success in bringing about recovery of function.  It is prudent to support and follow the progress in the labs that are working to answer that very question.   (cp)

by University of California, San Diego:  Created Line of Spinal Cord Neural Stem Cells Shows Diverse Promise 

by Nature Methods:  Generation and post-injury integration of human spinal cord neural stem cells

The earlier primate work was report HERE in February.

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Regenerative Medicine, Spinal Research, Stem Cell Research | Tagged ,

More concept developments reported from the Courtine lab in Nature

For those following SCI research in the electrical stimulation field, this open access article in Nature Communications is worth a read.  Here, the Gregoire Courtine lab describes the concept and project where brain-controlled modulation coupled with constant stimulation during gait rehabilitation would enhance locomotion.   They were able to show that brain-controlled stimulation enhances voluntary overground walking and even staircase climbing!  The closed circuit loop increased and improved recovery compared with continuous stimulation only being delivered to the spinal cord during gait rehabilitation.    (cp)

LINK to Nature Communications ArticleBrain-controlled modulation of spinal circuits improves recovery from SCI:

Authors: Marco Bonizzato,  Galyna Pidpruzhnykova,  Jack DiGiovannaPolina Shkorbatova,  Natalia PavlovaSilvestro Micera &  Grégoire Courtine

Supplementary Video LINK

Nature Communications volume 9, Article number: 3015 (2018)

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

Working 2 Walk 2018 Registrations Open!

The annual Working 2 Walk symposium is now open for registrations.  Mark your calendars for October 19th & 20th, 2018 in Vancouver, Canada.  Claim your spot at this LINK.  The list of speakers you’ll hear are at this LINK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spinal Cord Injury Research and Science can be accessed at the Medium site!  Here’s the new space LINK to follow along if you’re a reader over at Medium.

 

Posted in Unite 2 Fight Paralysis, Working 2 Walk Science & Advocacy Symposium | 1 Comment

SCI: MRI shows not all sensation is lost

See the Full Article LINK at Neuroscience Research Australia:

Researchers from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), The University of Sydney, and HammondCare have found surviving sensory nerve connections in areas of no sensation in 50% of people living with complete thoracic spinal cord injuries.

The breakthrough study by Wrigley, Siddall and Gustin used cutting edge functional MRI (fMRI) technology to record neural response to touch. NeuRA’s Dr Sylvia Gustin analysed the fMRI images to identify the moment the patient’s brain registered the touch.

Dr Gustin said seeing the brain light up to touch shows, despite complete injury of the thoracic spine, somatosensory pathways have been preserved.

See the Full Article LINK at Neuroscience Research Australia:

All Sensation is Not Lost in Thoracic Spinal Cord Injuries

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Rehabilitation, Spinal Research | Tagged | 2 Comments

Spinal Cord Injury: Is the vagus nerve our neural connectome?

Read the Full Article at eLife Sciences

The vagus nerve reports on the state of many of the organs in our body, including the heart, the lungs and the gut, and it relays this information to various neural control networks that unconsciously regulate internal organs. It has also been shown that artificial electric stimulation of the vagus nerve helps with recovery in animal models of stroke, tinnitus and spinal cord injury (De Ridder et al., 2014Hays, 2016). In particular, stimulation of the vagus nerve promotes the recuperation of motor skills and, maybe, autonomic functions (such as breathing), even when the injuries took place years before the intervention. However, we do not fully understand how stimulating this single nerve can lead to such results.

Now, in eLife, Patrick Ganzer, Robert Rennaker at the University of Texas at Dallas and the Texas Biomedical Device Center, and colleagues, report that stimulating the vagus nerve of a rat with spinal injuries helps it to recover mobility of an affected limb – in this case, its front paw (Ganzer et al., 2018). The stimulation has to be applied during a short time window after the rat manages to perform a specific movement with this paw, such as grasping a lever with a specific level of strength.

Read the Full Article at eLife Sciences

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Neuroscience Abstracts, Rehabilitation, Spinal Research | Tagged , | 1 Comment