Spinal Cord Injury Research Supported By Wings For Life World Run

Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center is currently conducting a clinical trial for a new drug called the ‘Nogo Trap’ that has been designed to help individuals with chronic spinal cord injuries.

These injuries can cause paralysis and impair movement and sensation. The Nogo Trap aims to regrow nerve fibres and establish new neural connections that can help restore bodily functions to patients.

Wings for Life Foundation, the non-profit organisation funded by charitable donations from the Wings for Life World Run, is supporting this clinical trial which is hoped to pave the way for new treatments for people with spinal cord injuries.

Here’s all you need to know:

The Nogo Trap works by blocking proteins that prevent damaged nerves from regrowing, allowing nerve fibres to reconnect and form new connections.

Justin Lennon and Prof. Dr Dr Jan Schwab at Ohio State University on September 21, 2022 – Michael Millay / Wings for Life

Initial experiments with paraplegic rats showed that a third of the animals regained full movement after the drug was injected into their spinal fluid. 

The groundbreaking discovery prompted a clinical trial involving people with spinal cord injuries, led by study initiator Stephen Strittmatter at Yale University.

Justin, a participant in the clinical trial, shared his story during a recent visit to the Wexner Medical Center. Justin’s spinal cord injury occurred in 2017 after a trampoline accident in his backyard. 

Justin is paralyzed from the waist down, and he can barely feel his body or use his hands. His spinal cord injury dictates every aspect of his life, making even simple tasks like getting out of bed and going to work challenging.

After several infusions of the Nogo Trap directly into the spinal fluid through his lumbar spine, Justin has been undergoing rigorous tests to evaluate his progress. 

Testing includes determining his sensory capacity, arm strength, and fine motor skills. It measures whether he can feel a safety pin, his grip strength improved, or he can insert and turn a key in a lock. This testing allows researchers to determine whether new nerve connections have formed, and they meticulously record every finding.

According to Professor Jan Schwab, who is leading the clinical trial at the Wexner Medical Center, the study is still ongoing, and the researchers remain uncertain about the results. 

Initial findings indicate that the drug is safe and well-tolerated, and Justin remains hopeful that the study will lead to a cure for paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries.

The Wings for Life Foundation has been instrumental in supporting Strittmatter’s research project from its early stages and has subsequently successfully accompanied it into the clinical testing phase. The foundation has provided the study with seven million US dollars in funding, its highest funding amount to date.

While the final results of the clinical trial are still pending, the hope is that the Nogo Trap could help restore vital bodily functions to people with spinal cord injuries, offering a new ray of hope to those who have been paralyzed for a year.

The Wings for Life World Run helps to raise funds for spinal cord research, with every cent going towards finding a cure.

The next Wings for Life World Run will take place on May 7, and participants can run individually with the Wings for Life World Run App or together in several Flagship Runs. Regardless of running ability, the event is all about having fun while supporting a worthy cause. 100% of entry fees and donations go directly to spinal cord research.

Register for the Wings for Life World Run HERE