When Spinal Cord Injury occurs, our body creates a scar in that area of spinal cord. This “crust” forms a solid wall that still sprouting neurons can not overcome. The idea behind Dr. Silver’s work is to find a way to dissolve this scar and help neurons from both sides of injury spot to grow and re-connect again.
In the latest appearance in Cleveland, OH @ Neural Prosthesis seminar (January 16, 2016) Dr. Silver has announced results from research on chronic animal model treated with Chondroitinase (Cha’se) enzyme and Peptide, concluding that “robust breathing function recovery occurred”.
Experiment is repeated several times and possibly first time in medical history we have significant Central Nervous System Regeneration with certain method / therapy confirmed.
Dr. Silver want to rush his team findings from the lab to human use as soon as possible. One intermediate step, as test on large animal model (primates), is needed before the first people with high level SCI injuries (patients using ventilators for breathing) will be approached.
Dr. Silver is also ready to answer any questions at this Post @ CareCure Forum – Click on the Link. Some of the questions / answers you an read below.
Dogs are already receiving this Cha’se treatment and healing
Ch’ase is administered via micro-injections to the appropriate levels of the cord depending on which behaviors one is targeting for recovery. For breathing, the target is around C4, for arm/hand function C5-8, for walking L2 (the location of the CPG) and bladder/bowel/ sexual function lower lumbar L4,5 + upper sacral. There is a possibility to target multiple cord levels simultaneously with the enzyme. The ISRT is now working on state of the art controlled AAV vector delivery systems for the enzyme. This will give us a long acting, highly potent and widespread delivery system that can be turned off when behavioral improvements plateau. I am extremely optimistic that they will be successful. They are a wonderful and dedicated group. The peptide (or a small molecule substitute that is now being developed) is delivered systemically either via su-cutaneous injections or maybe in the future via oral administration.
I do believe that the respiratory system is not unique in its ability to sprout slowly after injury. I am very optimistic about improving arm/hand function. We should be able to target other levels of the cord as mentioned above. For those with complete cord lesions we will need to build a bridge across the lesion scar and we are now working on that with with a combination of peripheral nerve grafting, Ch’ase and our peptide. We have had great success using our bridging strategy over the years and we are now focused on repeating this in chronic models. The bridging work is funded by a grant from the NIH.
Large animals are a bit of a hurdle due to cost. I have colleagues who are quite interested in testing our strategy in mini-pigs and primates. I would very much like to move to primates before humans because of their human-like hand function. Unfortunately, they are telling me that the cost is about a million and half bucks (100K per animal, good grief). It should not take too long once the experiments begin.
Yes, for certain, incomplete chronic injuries are far more likely to respond best to the enzyme. As for money raising it is always appropriate for the SCI community to help call attention to and help raise funds for scientifically excellent research. One good way of identifying the very best SCI related science is to browse the Unite2Fight Paralysis web site. They do a wonderful job of calling attention to the good stuff.
The enzyme is administered through micro-needles but the number of injections per area that would adequately cover the cord still needs to be worked out in a larger animal model. In our rat model we only administer a single injection at C4. When the viral vectors are perfected they spread much farther than regular ch’ase. Thus, perhaps only a single injection will be needed even in a larger animal per targeted area. The peptide is given systemically and can be administered for as long as needed. A critical adjunct to the therapy can be physical rehab or epidural stimulation.