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Research suggest new therapy for spinal cord injury victims

Maryland residents might be interested to learn about a new Japanese research study involving an oral drug that has been shown to lessen the outbreak of human multiple sclerosis and slow some of its physical problems now looks promising for treating injuries to the spinal cord as well. The drug studied was FTY720, also known as Gilenya, was shown to improve some of the motor functions in mice with spinal cord injuries.

The study's authors report that FTY720, manufactured by Novartis has several treatment powers and had recovered some of the motor function of the injured mice by suppressing the immune system and thereby reducing the inflammation that occurs after an injury. Researchers say that inflammation can aggravate the damage caused by a spinal cord injury.

A professor at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, who is also the scientific director of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, said that the study involved treating the mice right after the injury, which is rarely the case with spinal cord injuries. Further studies are needed on the timing of giving the medicine to injury victims. He has found that a steroid called methylprednisolone, was found to be effective in restoring some function in people if taken within eight hours of their injuries.

The director of the Neurologic Rehabilitation and Research Program at UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine believes the hype surrounding research into drug treatments for spinal cord injuries is overrated. He said there is no drug that can protect the central nervous system and feels the only positive results that he has seen involves rehabilitation.

Spinal cord injuries commonly result from car accidents and other high-impact events that jolt the head, neck or back and cause trauma to the spine. It is incredibly important, as this study demonstrates, to accurately diagnose and treat spinal cord injuries immediately following an accident. The proper treatment and rehabilitation involved in recovery from a spinal cord injury can be a long-term and costly process. If you have been injured through the negligent or reckless actions of another, whether through a work-related injury or car accident, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine if you have a case and are due compensation for medical and rehabilitation expenses, as well as lost wages and pain and suffering.

Source: Ground Report, "Potential of MS Drug to Treat Spinal Cord Injuries," Ciara Wilson, Mar. 19, 2012

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