Hialeah spinal cord injury patients, as well as spinal cord injury patients across the country, will be interested in a new scientific breakthrough that suggests an MS drug may offer new hope for injury treatment. Scientists from the University of Tokyo and the Jichi Medical University School of Medicine have found that a drug used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) could also help spinal cord injury patients. The drug, Gilenya or FTY720, was found to be effective in mice. When mice with spinal cord injuries were given the drug immediately after injury, FTY720 was found to help the mice recover motor function.
According to research, the drug, manufactured by Novartis, works by reducing inflammation. According to scientists, when inflammation occurs after a spinal cord injury, it can worsen the effects of a spinal cord injury. By reducing inflammation, researchers hypothesized, FTY720 can help mice regain motor control. FTY720 was also found to help regenerate damaged tissue in the mice, according to the study’s authors. The study’s authors find that FTY720 shows promise, but years of testing may still be in the future, as scientists will need to test the drug on larger animals before determining whether human trials are feasible.
Some scientists have also expressed skepticism at the study’s findings. Some researchers, for example, point out that many spinal cord injury interventions may work in mice but may not work in larger animals or humans. According to the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, in human cases it is rarely possible to administer a treatment immediately after a spinal cord injury. For example, after a Hialeah truck accident causing a spinal cord injury, it may take some time for emergency crews to arrive at the scene and even more time will typically elapse before a patient can be transferred to hospital to begin treatment. W. Dalton Dietrich of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis therefore has wondered whether FTY720 would still be as effective if the drug were not administered at once after the injury.
Currently, the focus with spinal cord injury patients is rehabilitation. Spinal cord injury patients who have sustained their injury through a Hialeah car accident or other type of accident usually have their spinal cords stabilized and then undergo extensive rehabilitation. However, some studies have suggested that immediate treatment can actually help prevent further spinal cord damage and can help patients recover faster. For example, the drug methylprednisolone has found helpful in helping spinal cord patients recover some motor function. That drug must be administered within eight hours of injury for patients to reap the benefit. As well, another recent study has found that patients who get spinal decompression surgery within 24 hours of their injury have a better chance of fuller recovery than patients who wait longer to get treatment. Mild cooling shortly after surgery has also been found to be somewhat effective in improving function. Early research has also been done on stem cell use to rebuild spinal cord nerve pathways, but this research is still experimental.