Tag: Glial Growth
National Institutes of Health grant will enable Hedong Li to focus on role of micorRNAs in the reprogramming process
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Hedong Li, associate research professor of biology, has been awarded $1.8 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how microRNAs — small segments of genetic material — could be used in treatments for spinal cord injury. The five-year grant builds upon previous work by Li and colleagues to convert glial cells, support cells that surround neurons, into functioning neurons.
Researchers have identified a protein in zebrafish that plays a role in helping heal major spinal cord injuries. The results, published in the 4 November issue of Science, could provide an important clue for researchers looking for ways to facilitate similar tissue repair in humans.
While mammals lack the ability to regenerate nervous system tissue after spinal cord injury, zebrafish can regenerate such tissue. The mechanisms behind this recovery have remained elusive.
“Only six to eight weeks after a paralyzing injury that completely severs their spinal cord, zebrafish form new neurons, regrow axons and recover the ability to swim. Importantly, these regenerative events proceed without massive scarring,” explained Mayssa Mokalled of Duke University, a researcher involved in the study.
Hot on the heels of discovering a protective form of immune response to spinal cord injury, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have pinpointed the biological trigger for that response – a vital step toward being able to harness the body’s defenses to improve treatment for spine injuries, brain trauma, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.
Acorda Therapeutics said today it won a $2.67 million contract from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command (USAMRMC) to support development of AC105 as a treatment for acute spinal cord injury (SCI).
The contract will help fund a Phase II clinical trial designed primarily to assess the safety and tolerability of AC105 in patients with acute SCI. The company plans to open enrollment for this study in the first half of this year.