Experimental drug, SUN13837, may help improve mobility in the biceps and wrists of patients after cervical spinal-cord injury.
An experimental drug being tested at more than 60 centers worldwide may improve mobility after spinal-cord injury (SCI).
The drug, SUN13837, developed by Japanese pharmaceutical company Asubio, is believed to protect damaged neurons and possibly promote new nerve growth, which would decrease loss of function after injury.
After SCI, the body reacts to the injury with restricted blood flow, inflammation and a flood of neurotransmitters, all of which contribute to nerve cell death. SUN13837 uses beta fibroblastic growth factor (a protein found in stem cells) to keep neurons alive and healthy and promote regrowth of nerve axons (fibers that relay messages) without the risk of harmful cell growth that comes with many stem cell therapies.
Currently being tested at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, the drug is given to patients intravenously within 12 hours of SCI and again daily for 28 days.
While this isn’t a cure for SCI, it can help prevent complete loss of mobility such as retention of bicep and wrist movement in patients with cervical SCI.
“Cautious optimism is needed until this and other studies are conducted,” says Shepherd Center’s director of clinical research Issi Clesson, RN, MSCN, CCRP. “But there is hope that this may open new doors for future research and for those with acute SCI.”
For more information visit shepherd.org or www.asubio.com