A new experimental treatment is being tested by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
This drug has already been proven to be effective in mice.
The new treatment does not seek to regrow injured pathways in the spinal cord but it aims to mitigate damage secondary to the spinal cord injury.
Most spinal cord injuries trigger a cascade of chemical reactions in the spinal cord that collectively damage nearby cells and pathways, contributing to functional deficits including hind limb function.
It has been shown that blocking the action of a protein found in the spinal cord of mammals (matrix metalloproteinase-9) can help mice recover from spinal cord injuries.
Matrix metalloproteinase-9 can degrade pathways within the cord and cause inflammation leading to cell death.
The treatment consists of injections of matrix metalloproteinase-9 blocking drug.
Proteins of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family are involved in the breakdown of extracellular matrix (the extracellular matrix is the defining feature of connective tissue in animals) in normal physiological processes, such as embryonic development, reproduction, and tissue remodeling, as well as in disease processes, such as arthritis.
Source article: Saving Dogs with Spinal Cord Injuries