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Drug could stop spinal injuries worsening

by Access Legal

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The UK sees more than 1,000 people every year suffer injuries to the spinal cord.

'Spinal cord injury does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any time and at any age' Sara Carter, Team Leader

Most spinal cord injuries result in some form of paralysis and the impact of such a personal injury can be devastating and life changing.

Spinal cord injury occurs mostly due to severe accidents, including road traffic accidents, motorbike accidents, sports injuries, or falling from height.

Such a life changing injury can have far reaching consequences for the victim and their family. Spinal cord injury does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any time and at any age.

The personal injury to the spinal cord could be complete or incomplete. A complete injury results in a total dysfunction of organs and limbs, and which organs and limbs affected will depend on the level of the lesion / trauma to the spinal cord. An incomplete injury leaves function to organs and limbs, but with much altered usage.

Researchers in the United States have now released information to suggest that the extent of damage caused by way of trauma to the spinal cord in an accident could be restricted if the drug is administered early enough after the trauma is sustained.

Results from research recently carried out in the USA show that it may be possible to stop the bleeding that can cause the damage from an injured spinal cord to worsen. It has so far been found that when trauma occurs to the spinal cord, capillaries can burst, shedding chemicals called inflammatory factors which are designed to heal the body, but in certain circumstances can cause the situation to be worse, thus causing further damage.

The gene which apparently starts the process is called ABCC8, and US scientists have been working on a technique to block this gene. Blocking it lessens the spinal cord injury and its effects.

It is hoped that through further research and clinical trials that such drugs would be made available to first response crews who may be able to administer it to suitable candidates in the immediate aftermath of spinal cord trauma.

Any research carried out which broadens the knowledge of how spinal cord injury can be limited and to some degree reversed, would be welcome news to the thousands of people who have had such devastating injuries.

In the meantime, we continue to work with Aspire and the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) to help victims of spinal cord injury and in time we hope to work with health professions who may in turn be working with drugs / techniques which can help to lessen the impact and devastating life consequences brought about by trauma/personal injury to the spinal cord.

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