Two Leading Spinal Cord Injury Experts Join ReNetX Scientific Advisory Board

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Oct. 10, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ReNetX Bio, a company developing first-in-class therapeutics to treat injury to the central nervous system, is expanding its Scientific Advisory Board with key opinion leaders specializing in spinal cord injury.

ReNetX Bio is developing first-in-class therapeutics to treat injury and damage to the central nervous system (CNS) in conditions such as spinal cord injury (SCI), stroke, and glaucoma. The company was founded based on innovative technology from Dr. Stephen Strittmatter’s work at Yale University to improve neurologic function after CNS injury – creating a significant and completely unmet need estimated at >$5B annually. The technology allows neurons to regrow by eliminating factors that inhibit growth and the technology platform has the potential to help restore function in patients who are suffering from spinal cord injuries, stroke and glaucoma.

Andrew Blight, PhD, brings experience as the former Chief Scientific Officer of Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., where he helped move forward therapies for stroke and spinal cord injury (SCI) and ran two of the largest multicenter clinical trials in chronic SCI around the potassium channel blocker, 4-aminopyridine, which achieved FDA approval for the treatment of walking impairment in persons with multiple sclerosis.

Andrew R. Blight PhD.

“I have closely followed the developing science behind ReNetX and I am delighted to see this technology ready to be brought to the clinic for testing in people with spinal cord injury,” Blight says.

In addition, ReNetX has added Daniel P. Lammertse, MD, to its Scientific Advisory Board. Lammertse served as Medical Director (1984-2008) and Medical Director of Research (2008-2016)at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado, before becoming the hospital’s Emeritus Clinical Scientist upon retirement from clinical practice in 2016. He’s also Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Lammertse is an internationally recognized expert in SCI clinical care and rehabilitation. He has authored numerous scientific publications on topics in spinal cord injury, including ventilator-dependent tetraplegia, aging in persons with SCI, and the conduct of clinical trials in SCI.

Dr. Dan Lammertse

In joining the ReNetX Scientific Advisory Board, Lammertse says: “I was impressed with the preclinical work that will enable moving to clinical trials and by the positive effects seen in chronic injuries. My expertise is in the pragmatics of conducting clinical trials in persons with spinal cord injury. I hope that my participation on the Scientific Advisory Board can be translated into a successful clinical trial research program.”

Read the full article at First Word Pharma HERE

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

Get registered for Working 2 Walk 2017 today!

Hilton Miami Airport Hotel Working 2 Walk 2017 October 13-14

Plan to join us in Miami for our 12th annual Working 2 Walk Symposium. The conference is a unique opportunity for spinal cord injury advocates, scientists, clinicians, and investors to meet and share the latest news & strategies, and form partnerships that will accelerate progress toward curative therapies.

Working 2 Walk Symposium Registration
October 13-14, 2017 – Miami, Florida

Register HERE for early bird rates!

Working 2 Walk 2017 Agenda LINK

Working 2 Walk Speaker List HERE

Venue Lodging LINK

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Regenerative Medicine, Spinal Research, Unite 2 Fight Paralysis, Working 2 Walk Science & Advocacy Symposium | 1 Comment

Airline lobby wins another big delay on reporting data for wheelchair damages and losses *January 2019*

By Russ Choma

Dodson’s story seems to be fairly common. His chair has also been repeatedly broken by airlines, and as the national secretary of Paralyzed Veterans of America, he hears about airlines breaking or losing wheelchairs on a regular basis. Still, no one knows just how common it is or which airlines are the worst offenders. There is literally no transparency when it comes to how airlines handle wheelchairs—they are not required to keep or publicly release data on the chairs and motorized scooters they carry.

A new federal rule written by the Obama administration was supposed to change that. Beginning on January 1, 2018, the rule would have required airlines to track, and report on a monthly basis, how many wheelchairs and motorized scooters each airline carries and how many they break or mishandle. That would allow disabled travelers to easily assess which airlines to use and which to avoid.

But then Donald Trump’s administration stepped in. Just weeks after Trump took office, the Department of Transportation bowed to pressure from airline industry lobbyists and abruptly delayed the new rule—with no input from the public.

There had been no public comment, no notice given to any of the stakeholders who had participated in the five-year rulemaking process, and only limited explanation of why the rule had been delayed.

Read the Full Article HERE from Mother Jones

Posted in Advocacy, Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research | 1 Comment

An injectable hydrogel enhances tissue repair after spinal cord injury by promoting extracellular matrix remodeling

Nature Communications 8, Article number: 533 (2017)

The cystic cavity that develops following injuries to brain or spinal cord is a major obstacle for tissue repair in central nervous system (CNS). Here we report that injection of imidazole-poly(organophosphazenes) (I-5), a hydrogel with thermosensitive sol–gel transition behavior, almost completely eliminates cystic cavities in a clinically relevant rat spinal cord injury model. Cystic cavities are bridged by fibronectin-rich extracellular matrix. The fibrotic extracellular matrix remodeling is mediated by matrix metalloproteinase-9 expressed in macrophages within the fibrotic extracellular matrix. A poly(organophosphazenes) hydrogel lacking the imidazole moiety, which physically interacts with macrophages via histamine receptors, exhibits substantially diminished bridging effects. I-5 injection improves coordinated locomotion, and this functional recovery is accompanied by preservation of myelinated white matter and motor neurons and an increase in axonal reinnervation of the lumbar motor neurons. Our study demonstrates that dynamic interactions between inflammatory cells and injectable biomaterials can induce beneficial extracellular matrix remodeling to stimulate tissue repair following CNS injuries.

Le Thi Anh Hong, Young-Min Kim, Hee Hwan Park, Dong Hoon Hwang, Yuexian Cui, Eun Mi Lee, Stephanie Yahn, Jae K. Lee, Soo-Chang Song & Byung Gon Kim

Read the Full Publication HERE

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

17th International Symposium on Neural Regeneration


The ISNR is a forum for the presentation and discussion of important research progress, insights and controversies important to advancing the understanding of injury responses and potential therapeutics targeting both peripheral nerve and central nervous system injuries. This year marks the 17th bi-annual meeting and the last time that we will be holding ISNR at the Asilomar conference grounds. I know that this is a meeting that many of you look forward to and I hope to see you again for this year’s meeting.

If you have already registered, thank you. If not, then please register and spread the word to your colleagues. Also, encourage your students and trainees to register. This is a perfect meeting for them!

The ISNR meeting will take place November 27-December 1, 2017 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA.

Please visit to see this years agenda and to register.

Phillip Popovich, Ph.D., Director
International Symposium on Neural Regeneration
694 Biomedical Research Tower
460 W. 12th Ave
Columbus, Ohio 43210 USA
Phone: 614-688-8576 | Email:

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

Combinatory repair strategy to promote axon regeneration and functional recovery after chronic spinal cord injury

Marc A. DePaul

Eight weeks post contusive spinal cord injury, we built a peripheral nerve graft bridge (PNG) through the cystic cavity and treated the graft/host interface with acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF) and chondroitinase ABC (ChABC). This combinatorial strategy remarkably enhanced integration between host astrocytes and graft Schwann cells, allowing for robust growth, especially of catecholaminergic axons, through the graft and back into the distal spinal cord. In the absence of aFGF+ChABC fewer catecholaminergic axons entered the graft, no axons exited, and Schwann cells and astrocytes failed to integrate. In sharp contrast with the acutely bridge-repaired cord, in the chronically repaired cord only low levels of serotonergic axons regenerated into the graft, with no evidence of re-entry back into the spinal cord. The failure of axons to regenerate was strongly correlated with a dramatic increase of SOCS3 expression. While regeneration was more limited overall than at acute stages, our combinatorial strategy in the chronically injured animals prevented a decline in locomotor behavior and bladder physiology outcomes associated with an invasive repair strategy. These results indicate that PNG+aFGF+ChABC treatment of the chronically contused spinal cord can provide a permissive substrate for the regeneration of certain neuronal populations that retain a growth potential over time, and lead to functional improvements.

Authors: Marc A. DePaul, Ching-Yi Lin, Jerry Silver, Yu-Shang Lee

See the Full Publication at Nature Scientific Reports: LINK

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

Gait Rehabilitation with a Neurologically Controlled Exoskeleton

Gait Rehabilitation with a Neurologically Controlled Exoskeleton
Ziadee Cambier, PT, MSPT, DPT

Ziadee Cambier Physical Therapist Swedish Medical Center

Seattle Science Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the international collaboration among physicians, scientists, technologists, engineers and educators. The Foundation’s training facilities and extensive internet connectivity have been designed to foster improvements in health care through professional medical education, training, creative dialogue and innovation.

NOTE: All archived recorded lectures are available for informational purposes only and are only eligible for self-claimed Category II credit. They are not intended to serve as, or be the basis of a medical opinion, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment for any particular patient.

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

Nanoparticles limit damage in spinal cord injury

Injection after an injury reduces inflammation and scarring

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

By Marla Paul

After a spinal cord injury, a significant amount of secondary nerve damage is caused by inflammation and internal scarring that inhibits the ability of the nervous system to repair itself. A biodegradable nanoparticle injected after a spinal cord trauma prevented the inflammation and internal scarring that inhibits the repair process, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

As a result, mice with a spinal cord injury receiving the nanoparticle injection were able to walk better after the injury than those that didn’t receive it. The treatment could potentially limit secondary damage to the spinal cord in humans after an injury, if administered a few hours after the accident in an emergency room or by paramedics in an ambulance. “It’s not a cure. There is still the original damage, but we were able to prevent the secondary damage,” said co-senior author Dr. Jack Kessler, a professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine neurologist. “It’s an exciting potential treatment. We really believe this is something we’ll be able to take to the clinic.”

Further studies would need to confirm the safety of the injected nanoparticle, Kessler said, but he noted scientists haven’t seen any signs of toxicity so far. The nanoparticles work by binding to the cells that cause the inflammation — inflammatory monocytes — and diverting them to the spleen. The particles are made of poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid, a biocompatible substance already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in re-absorbable sutures. Developed in the lab of Northwestern scientist Stephen Miller, the particles also are FDA approved as an investigational drug for a new clinical trial in celiac disease. “The study results suggest nanoparticle infusion could offer a novel and practical potential treatment for human spinal cord injury, a condition for which there are currently no effective treatments,” said Miller, the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Feinberg.

“The new treatment is unusual because it is potentially immediately translatable to human beings,” Kessler said. “All we have to do is literally inject these beads into the blood stream. It doesn’t require surgery or any fancy intervention.” The tiny beads also are very stable and can be kept in a syringe, Kessler noted. “An emergency medical technician at the site of an accident or somebody in an emergency room when someone is brought in can give this injection immediately,” he said.

The nanoparticle technology is being developed commercially by Cour Pharmaceuticals Development Co., which is working with Miller to bring this new approach to patients. Miller is a co-founder of Cour and a member of the scientific advisory board.

The study was published in Neurobiology of Disease on August 24.

Miller also is a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

Northwestern coauthors include Su Ji Jeong, John G. Cooper, Igal Ifergan, Tammy L. McGuire, Dan Xu, Zoe Hunter, Sripadh Sharma and Derrick McCarthy.

This research was supported by grants EB013198 from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and NS026543 and F30NS093811 from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, all of the National Institutes of Health.

Northwester Now News Full Article LINK
Science Direct LINK
Medical Express Article LINK

Posted in Neuroscience Abstracts, Regenerative Medicine, Spinal Research | Tagged ,

It’s Not a Rat’s Race for Human Stem Cells Grafted to Repair Spinal Cord Injuries

By Scott LaFee
Lengthy study finds that implanted neural stem cells grow slow and steady, and success needs to be measured accordingly

Paul Lu PhD Associate Researcher

More than one-and-a-half years after implantation, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the San Diego Veterans Administration Medical Center report that human neural stem cells (NSCs) grafted into spinal cord injuries in laboratory rats displayed continued growth and maturity, with functional recovery beginning one year after grafting.

The findings are published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Prolonged human neural stem cell maturation supports recovery in injured rodent CNS

“The NSCs retained an intrinsic human rate of maturation despite being placed in a traumatic rodent environment,” said Paul Lu, PhD, associate professor of neurosciences and lead author of the study. “That’s a finding of great importance in planning for human clinical trials.”

Neural stem cells differentiate into neurons and glia or support cells. Researchers like Lu and colleague, Mark Tuszynski, MD, PhD, professor of neuroscience and director of the UC San Diego Translational Neuroscience Institute, have explored their potential as a sort of patch and remedy for spinal cord injuries, implanting NSCs derived from induced pluripotent stem cells into animal models of spinal cord injuries to repair damage. In previously published animal studies, Lu and Tuszynski have shown NSCs can survive implantation and make new connections, even beginning to restore limited physical function, such as foot movement, that had been lost to paralyzing injury.

But major questions remained: At what rate do the NSCs mature? And for how long? Rat biology works at a much faster pace than human. The gestational period for a human is 280 days; for a rat, it’s 21. The brain of a 2- or 3-year-old human child is comparable in body/brain weight ratios to a 20-day-old rat. It was possible that human NSCs in animal models would not accurately reflect functioning in future human patients.

“Most NSC grafting studies have been short-term, measuring survival times in weeks to a few months,” said Tuszynski. “That’s not enough time to fully measure the growth and maturation rate of human NSCs or what changes might occur farther out from the original grafting. These are important considerations, not just for the basic science of stem cell biology, but for the practical design of translational human trials using NSCs for spinal cord injuries. We need to better understand the long-term nature and time course so that we can accurately assess results and success.”

See the full article at UC San Diego Health Newsroom LINK

See related commentary: Patient Pays In Spinal Cord Injury

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

It’s On! U2FP Working 2 Walk 2017 and SCI Curecast Episode 11

Plan to join us in Miami for our 12th annual Working 2 Walk Symposium. The conference is a unique opportunity for spinal cord injury advocates, scientists, clinicians, and investors to meet and share the latest news & strategies, and form partnerships that will accelerate progress toward curative therapies.

Working 2 Walk Symposium Registration
October 13-14, 2017 – Miami, Florida

Register HERE

Working 2 Walk 2017 Agenda LINK

Working 2 Walk Speaker List HERE

Venue Lodging LINK

Kate and Matthew talk with Donna Sullivan, U2FP’s Special Projects Director and Chris Powell, U2FP’s Research Consultant. We talk about their stories of becoming engaged with SCI advocacy after their son’s were injured and how that weaves its way into U2FP’s Scientific Advisory Board, the Spinal Cord Research and Advocacy Blog and our Working 2 Walk Science and Advocacy Symposium (this year in Miami along with our Title Sponsor the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis on Oct. 13th and 14th). Take a listen at the Podcast LINK.

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Unite 2 Fight Paralysis, Working 2 Walk Science & Advocacy Symposium | Tagged , , , , ,