The Challenges of Chondroitinase Development for Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition which often results in permanent disability. Once injured the central nervous system has limited capacity to regenerate and reorganize to repair the damaged cord or compensate for lost function. Certain substances within the brain and spinal cord limit the ability of the neurons to grown long distances after injury (regeneration) or form new local connections (reorganization/plasticity). One approach to increase regeneration and plasticity is to modify these inhibitory substances with the bacterial enzyme known as chondroitinase. Several laboratories around the world have demonstrated in animal models that chondroitinase treatment following SCI results in enhanced recovery of function. Acorda Therapeutics is researching chondroitinase as a potential therapeutic for spinal cord injury with the ultimate goal of developing an FDA approved human therapeutic. This presentation will review promising data from several independent laboratories using chondroitinase. The presentation will also outline some of the remaining questions and development challenges that must be overcome while considering human clinical trials with chondroitinase.
Anthony Caggiano, MD, PhD
Acorda Therapeutics, Inc.