New Drug Could Help Spinal Cord Injury Patients

Dr. Michael Fehlings, a neurosurgeon from Toronto Western Hospital is studying Cethrin, a new drug, for treating spinal cord injuries (SCI) soon after they occur. Cethrin is applied to an SCI during surgery. The drug is a recombinant protein made with artificial DNA technology. The protein acts as an inhibitor to Rho, which is a major pathway that increases damages after an SCI and stimulates the death of cells.

The Spinal Cord Injury Information Center says that about 11,000 people in the United States sustain SCIs every year. There are about 253,000 people in the U.S. living with an SCI.

Common Causes of SCIs:

• Motor vehicle crashes: Car and motorcycle collisions are the number one cause of SCIs and make up about 50% of new SCIs that occur annually.
• Falls: The number two cause of SCIs. Seniors older than 65 are at high risk of sustaining an SCI from a fall.
• Violent acts: Gunshot and stab wounds can lead to SCIs.
• Sports and recreational injuries: SCI’s have been known to occur during sporting and other recreational activities, including football, gymnastics, diving, soccer, snowboarding, surfing, and cheerleading.

Diseases. Arthritis, cancer, spinal cord inflammation, and arthritis, can lead to SCIs.

If you or someone you love has sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident, truck accident, pedestrian accident, bus accident, slip and fall accident, or any other kind of personal injury accident in Maryland or Washington D.C. that was caused because another party was negligent, you should contact a personal injury lawyer right away.

Although Cethrin is still undergoing tests, results based on a one-year study shows that 23% of the 37 spinal cord injury patients who were treated with Cethrin within 53 hours after their SCI injury occurred had improved by at least one grade level (or more) within six months. All 37 patients that participated in the test had been categorized as “A” grade injury patients, meaning that their SCIs were the most serious kind. Although usually there is some recovery following surgery for SCI, recovery rates without Cethrin tend to be a lot lower.

Dr. Fehlings cautioned that Cethrin does not cure SCIs, but that the drug could dramatically help patients, who could regain more physical abilities and motor skills than they would otherwise.

A number of medical institutions in the U.S. and Canada are continuing to study Cethrin’s effect on spinal cord injuries:

• St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona
• University of Cincinnati Mayfield Clinic and Spine Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio
• Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
• University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia
• University of Washington Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington
• Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario
• Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario
• Hopital du Sacre-Coeur de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec
Breakthrough For Spine Injuries, WFTU, September 21, 2007
Spinal cord injury, Mayo Clinic

Related Web Resources:

Spinal Cord Injury, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

In Maryland and Washington D.C., the personal injury law firm of Lebowitz and Mzhen represents SCI victims who were injured in a personal injury accident. We are committed to helping you receive compensation for your SCI.

To schedule your free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys, contact Lebowitz and Mzhen today.

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