Current Research: Spinal Cord Trauma
Therapy for spinal cord injury remains a challenge. Current treatment of acute injury focuses mainly on aggressive rehabilitation tactics such as the administration of high doses of steroids and emergency surgery to limit spinal cord swelling and injury. There are essentially no treatments for chronic spinal cord injury other than these types of aggressive rehabilitation. VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) is a protein that promotes growth of blood vessels and the survival of spinal cord cells. We believe VEGF will be effective as a treatment for spinal cord trauma. By utilizing the newest techniques, we will be able to test the success of VEGF in new ways, allowing us to explore yet another possible mode of therapy for spinal cord injury resulting from trauma.
This study, if positive, will provide rationale to determine the theraputic potential of viral vectors encoding VEGF as a treatment for spinal cord imjury. A grant has been submitted to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation entitled "VEGF gene therapy in chronic spinal cord injury."