- WASHINGTON (AP) -- Originally used in the battle against cancer, a drug
has shown promise for the treatment of spinal injuries, according to researchers
at Vanderbilt University.
- Of 26 mice with spinal cord injuries,
24 recovered the ability to walk within 12 days after treatment with the
drug CM101, according to a report in Tuesday's Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences. One died and one remained paralyzed.
- By comparison, of 14 mice with similar
injuries that did not receive the drug, eight died and none of the six
survivors recovered the function of paralyzed limbs.
- "We are encouraged by the research,"
said Thomas H. Countee Jr., executive director of the National Spinal Cord
- But he cautioned that a lot of work remains
to be done before the results might be extended to humans.
- "This is just a few mice; then you
have to go to cats and perhaps primates and then, finally, to the human
model," he said.
- But since its use in cancer research
has already shown the drug to be safe for humans, tests on people with
spinal injuries might occur as early as late next year, said Carl G. Hellerqvist,
one of the researchers.
- CM101 has shown promise in fighting cancer
by blocking the formation of new blood vessels, which are needed by rapidly
- In the tests on mice, CM101 "significantly
reduced the compression-induced scarring" around the spinal cord following
injury, reported researchers Artur W. Wamil, Barbara D. Wamil and Hellerqvist.
- In the injured mice the drug was given
within an hour after injury and doses were repeated every other day.
- Use of CM101 in older spinal cord injuries,
however, would require surgical removal of the scar formed after the initial
injury, treatment with the drug to prevent rescarring, and use of other
chemicals to encourage nerve regrowth, the Vanderbilt researchers report.