Queensland researchers launch a world-first clinical trial aimed at improving recovery from spinal cord injuries. In the study, led by the University of Queensland and the Princess Alexandra Hospital, a new anti-inflammatory drug will be given to participants within hours of spinal trauma in an effort to minimise tissue damage.
Dr Mark Ruitenberg from the UQ School of Biomedical Sciences said when the spinal cord is injured, it becomes inflamed and this causes a lot of additional damage. “Up until now, doctors had no real treatment options to deal with this problem. What we discovered in our animal studies is intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy can reduce this harmful inflammation and significantly improve recovery from serious spinal cord injuries.”
Spinal surgeon Dr Kate Campbell, who is heading up the trial with Dr Ruitenberg, said one of the great benefits of IVIg is that it is quite safe and already used in the hospital for other conditions. “As a result, we have been able to quickly progress this treatment from the lab to the clinic,” she said.
The trial will run for three years and aims to recruit 20 participants through the PA Hospital, which is Queensland’s primary centre for spinal injury care.