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Thread: Antibodies may help with spinal cord injuries

  1. #1

    Antibodies may help with spinal cord injuries

    PALO ALTO, CA (KGO) -- There's new hope for people with spinal cord injuries. For the first time, a Stanford study shows that our own antibodies help repair nerve damage.

    Actor Christopher Reeve advocated for more research on spinal-cord trauma, and researchers at Stanford's School of Medicine think they know how to help axons, in other words nerve cells in the spine grow.

    For some unknown reason, when the nerves in the spine are severed, a fatty substance called myelin just sits there, worthless, not allowing the nerves or axons to reconnect.

    "So as those nerves start to grow down the spinal cord they can't because the myelin is acting like a stop signal blocking the ability of these axons to regenerate," Dr. Ben Barres from Stanford School of Medicine said.

    According to Barres, antibodies have limited access to the brain and spinal cord. So he and his staff injected antibodies directly into the spines of mice which then cleared that fatty substance called myelin.

    "And at any time theoretically one could remove that myelin, this would basically remove the stop, turn the stop into a green sign, a go sign, and allow those axon to grow again," he said. (Guess that means chronic sci as well)

    Click on the link and read the last two paragraphs. It describes
    the next step in their research. No mention of a timeframe for
    human application but, a therapy like this probably wouldn't be
    scrutinized as heavily by the FDA as one that uses stem cells.

  2. #2
    This is in line with knowledge about Nogo and Myelin Associated Glygoproteins that act as inhibitors to regrowth of nerve fibres:
    The second approach to regeneration and reconnection involves obstructing the myelin related substances that prevent neuron regeneration (5). Nogo and myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG) are two molecules shown to inhibit axonal regeneration. When growing axons are exposed to Nogo their growth cone breaks down. The Schwab laboratory demonstrated that IN-1, a monoclonal antibody against CNS myelin, enhanced axonal regrowth both on a culture of myelin and also in vivo (11). When IN-1 secreting cells were transplanted at the same time that the lesion was created, many axons grew rather long distances and in some cases regained its function (11). While the transplantation induced the long-distance growth of some axons, 90-95% of axons showed no growth at all. This indicates that there are inhibitors in addition to Nogo that prevent axons from regrowing. MAG is another powerful growth inhibiting molecule. It prevents axonal regeneration in vivo, and it is probable that any release of MAG from myelin at the injury site contributes to the axons inability to regrow (11). It is likely that in addition to Nogo and MAG, there are other myelin associated growth inhibitors (5,11). In tests where an animals own immune system was induced to make antibodies against all myelin associated molecules, the extent of regrowth was greater than when specific antibodies were used, but the regrowth was still restricted suggesting that other factors contribute to the prevention of regeneration (5). It is also probable that effects of these substances are not additive, but that the presence of one is enough to prevent regeneration. The best approach in devising ways to aid axonal regrowth is to inhibit the effects of all of the substances simultaneously (11)

    However, it seems to be the opposite of this approach from the Mayo clinic:
    Moses Rodriguez, M.D., a basic scientist in the Department of Immunology, and a neurologist in the Department of Neurology, has developed antibodies that may play a critical role in repair of the myelin sheath - the fatty insulation that surrounds most nerves in the brain and spinal cord. He is optimistic that a greater understanding of the mechanisms that promote remyelination will one day result in non-invasive treatments that promote nerve repair.

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