An ‘EpiPen’ for spinal cord injuries, an injection of nanoparticles that can prevent the body’s immune system from overreacting to trauma, potentially preventing some spinal cord injuries from resulting in paralysis, has been demonstrated successfully in mice, without the side effects of steroids.

An ‘EpiPen’ for spinal cord injuries, an injection of nanoparticles that can prevent the body’s immune system from overreacting to trauma, potentially preventing some spinal cord injuries from resulting in paralysis, has been demonstrated successfully in mice, without the side effects of steroids.

Recent Comments

  • skennedy987
    1 Week(s) Ago

    Thank you for including “in mice” in the post title

  • rubberloves
    1 Week(s) Ago

    I wonder if they will come up with something like this for other autoimmune responses. Like lupus or MS flares.

  • [deleted]
    1 Week(s) Ago

    [removed]

  • agentlerevolutionary
    1 Week(s) Ago

    Can anyone explain why our bodies have such a destructive response in the first place?

    Is it because such injuries are unlikely to be survival anyway and so we never lived long enough afterwards to reproduce and evolve a better response?

  • DrArgon
    1 Week(s) Ago

    I actually do research in this exact field and I read this paper this morning. It's very cool stuff. For clarification I'd like to point out that this paper, out of the Shea lab at the University of Michigan, is actually focused on COMBINING the nanoparticle treatment with an implantable insert that is placed inside the cut section of spinal cord that the Shea lab has been optimizing for a while. The PLG nanoparticle they are using here was originally studied as a single agent in the Kessler lab at Northwestern University and published in 2017 in a paper by Jeong et al. (cited in the present study). I happen to know someone who worked on that original 2017 nanoparticle SCI paper. This paper is a very cool example of combining two technologies to treat SCI.

  • mvea
    1 Week(s) Ago

    The title of the post is a copy and paste from the title, first and seventh paragraphs of the linked academic press release here:

    An ‘EpiPen’ for spinal cord injuries

    An injection of nanoparticles can prevent the body’s immune system from overreacting to trauma, potentially preventing some spinal cord injuries from resulting in paralysis.

    Previous attempts to offset complications from this immune response included injecting steroids like methylprednisolone. That practice has largely been discarded since it comes with side effects that include sepsis, gastrointestinal bleeding and blood clots. The risks outweigh the benefits.

    Journal Reference:

    Jonghyuck Park, Yining Zhang, Eiji Saito, Steve J. Gurczynski, Bethany B. Moore, Brian J. Cummings, Aileen J. Anderson, Lonnie D. Shea.

    Intravascular innate immune cells reprogrammed via intravenous nanoparticles to promote functional recovery after spinal cord injury.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201820276

    Link: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/07/02/1820276116

    DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1820276116

    Significance

    Inflammatory responses, such as those following spinal cord injury (SCI), lead to extensive tissue damage that impairs function. Here, we present nanoparticles that target circulating immune cells acutely, with nanoparticles reprogramming the immune cell response. The polymeric nanoparticles are formed without an active pharmaceutical ingredient that can have off-target effects, and internalization redirects some immune cells to the spleen, with modest numbers at the SCI. Following intravenous delivery, immune cell infiltration is reduced, correlating with decreased tissue degeneration. Furthermore, the SCI develops into a permissive microenvironment characterized by proregenerative immune cell phenotypes, expression of regeneration associated genes, increased axons and myelination, and a substantially improved functional recovery. These nanoparticles may be applied to numerous inflammatory diseases.

    Abstract

    Traumatic primary spinal cord injury (SCI) results in paralysis below the level of injury and is associated with infiltration of hematogenous innate immune cells into the injured cord. Methylprednisolone has been applied to reduce inflammation following SCI, yet was discontinued due to an unfavorable risk-benefit ratio associated with off-target effects. In this study, i.v. administered poly(lactide-coglycolide) nanoparticles were internalized by circulating monocytes and neutrophils, reprogramming these cells based on their physicochemical properties and not by an active pharmaceutical ingredient, to exhibit altered biodistribution, gene expression, and function. Approximately 80% of nanoparticle-positive immune cells were observed within the injury, and, additionally, the overall accumulation of innate immune cells at the injury was reduced 4-fold, coinciding with down-regulated expression of proinflammatory factors and increased expression of antiinflammatory and proregenerative genes. Furthermore, nanoparticle administration induced macrophage polarization toward proregenerative phenotypes at the injury and markedly reduced both fibrotic and gliotic scarring 3-fold. Moreover, nanoparticle administration with the implanted multichannel bridge led to increased numbers of regenerating axons, increased myelination with about 40% of axons myelinated, and an enhanced locomotor function (score of 6 versus 3 for control group). These data demonstrate that nanoparticles provide a platform that limits acute inflammation and tissue destruction, at a favorable risk-benefit ratio, leading to a proregenerative microenvironment that supports regeneration and functional recovery. These particles may have applications to trauma and potentially other inflammatory diseases.

  • Nirvadra
    1 Week(s) Ago

    I understand that the jump from mice to humans is large, but if this were to actually work, the benefits from this could be extraordinary. This could not only treat spinal cord injuries/trauma, but also inflammatory diseases, tissue destruction, and much more.

  • Totallynotatheif
    1 Week(s) Ago

    Since when did 'epipen' become a synonymous for all injections? Rather odd choice of words.

    Edit: the whole article seems very odd.

    call it an “EpiPen” for trauma to the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord

    But it's not. It'll likely be single or multiple injections given in hospital. There's no need or logic behind marketing it as a autoinjector. Autoinjectors are designed for a layperson to self administer time critical drugs with little training like adrenaline for anaphylaxis or atropine for organophosphate poisioning or morphine for severe pain in a tactical environment.

    Previous attempts to offset complications from this immune response included injecting steroids like methylprednisolone. That practice has largely been discarded since it comes with side effects that include sepsis, gastrointestinal bleeding and blood clots. The risks outweigh the benefits.

    I'm not sure how they theorise that methylprednisolone causes sepsis... Especially when many places use methylprednisolone to treat sepsis. Unless they're reffering to the potential for skin infections or phebitis to develop into sepsis but that won't change with a different drug.

    As far as GI bleeding goes, that's a rather common side effect with many drugs, in others if it's class methylpred actually has lower complications...

  • gorimem
    1 Week(s) Ago

    I’ll say it until I’m blue. Animal testing saves lives. It’s still useful despite what the lunatics over at PETA would like for you to believe.

  • AerodynamicOmnivore
    1 Week(s) Ago

    Nanites, courtesy of Ray Palmer.

  • [deleted]
    1 Week(s) Ago

    [removed]

  • J_leo3
    1 Week(s) Ago

    Just chill Immune System it's fine

  • jones1133
    1 Week(s) Ago

    Can't wait for this to be approved by the FDA so someone in need can have access to it for just $50,000 per shot.

  • Phrozenfire01
    1 Week(s) Ago

    That means they had to inflict spinal cord injuries on mice 😟

  • SerraTL
    1 Week(s) Ago

    Stimpaks will finally become a reality

  • EHWTwo
    1 Week(s) Ago

    Nanoparticles that prevent reactions to physical trauma

    Senator Armstrong would be so proud.

  • JacksonvilleJesus
    1 Week(s) Ago

    I have legit been waiting for something like this. Like some type of stem cell injection into the spine that helps heal and mend a damaged spine. Lord knows I need it.

  • playin4power
    1 Week(s) Ago

    The future is now! It's only gonna last for like another 12 years maybe, but it is now!!!!!!

  • [deleted]
    1 Week(s) Ago

    [removed]

  • WATTHEBALL
    1 Week(s) Ago

    I'm insanely fascinated at what's in store in the next 10-20 years when it comes to injuries and diseases that we've all come to know as irreversible.