For Tennessee residents who are seriously injured in an automobile accident, the recovery process can be long and arduous. This is especially true for those who suffer spinal cord injuries, which can lead to the loss of function in several different areas of the body. Damage to the spinal cord is one of the most life-altering injuries that an individual can sustain, and regaining lost function is a goal on which researchers around the world continue to focus. One recent study suggests a breakthrough in spinal cord therapy and offers new hope to individuals who have suffered this grave form of injury through car accidents or other types of trauma.
Researchers have been studying the ways in which a newly designed chemical compound affects scar tissue. Recent trials in laboratory animals have been promising, and there is hope that the positive outcomes might be replicated in human subjects. The research centers on a compound known as intracellular sigma peptide, or ISP.
Much of the damage wrought by spinal cord injuries occurs when the body produces scar tissue at the site of the injury. This scar tissue impedes the body’s ability to regenerate and also inhibits the transmission of signals from the nerve tips to the synaptic connections in the brain. In this way, the brain is unable to send the proper signals to various parts of the body, and many types of function are impaired or completely impeded.
When researchers injected ISP into the scar tissue of lab rats with spinal cord injuries, a remarkable outcome followed. More than 80 percent of the test subjects regained some measure of previously lost function. Most notably, many of the rats were able to regain mobility, as well as the ability to urinate. Should researchers develop a similar treatment for humans, similar results would be groundbreaking.
For those in Tennessee who have lost function due to spinal cord injuries suffered during car accidents, this type of research offers hope for a brighter future. In many cases, losing the ability to control one’s bodily functions is among the hardest things to accept after a serious accident. With treatment such as that mentioned here, spinal cord patients may have the chance to regain a measure of control over their bodies, which is a significant step in regaining a measure of autonomy.
Source: Fox News, “Compound shows ‘extraordinary’ promise in restoring muscle function after spinal cord injury“, Dec. 3, 2014