Research suggests new spinal cord injury therapy
A new study suggests that FTY720, a drug that has shown promise in treating multiple sclerosis, significantly improves locomotor recovery in mice with spinal cord injury (SCI). In addition to initial tissue damage, spinal cord degradation is due to secondary factors like neuron death, inflammation and scarring. Current treatments aim to counteract the mechanisms of secondary injury, because neurons have very limited capacity to self-repair and regenerate. Researchers from the Jichi Medical University and the University of Tokyo had previously shown that the concentration of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) was significantly increased at the site of an SCI, triggering the migration of neural progenitor/stem cells there, so the scientists explored ways to control S1P. FTY720 acts as a broad S1P receptor modulator. Researchers found that orally administering FTY720 to mice shortly after contusion SCI significantly improved motor function recovery.