AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017


Experimental Therapy Restores Nerve Insulation Damaged by Disease

Lab Tests Show Treatment Might Help People with Autoimmune Diseases


When the body attacks its own healthy tissues in an autoimmune disease, peripheral nerve damage handicaps people and causes persistent neuropathic pain when insulation on healing nerves doesn’t fully regenerate.

Unfortunately, there are no effective ways to treat the condition. Now scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center describe an experimental molecular therapy that restores insulation on peripheral nerves in mice, improves limb function, and results in less observable discomfort.

The study’s principal investigator is Q. Richard Lu, PhD, director of the Cincinnati Children’s Brain Tumor Center

To identify possible therapies, the international team of investigators performed small-molecule epigenetic screening for compounds that inhibit enzymes involved in epigenetic changes on chromosomes. These changes alter how gene activity in cells is regulated. The authors identified small molecular inhibitors already used to treat certain cancers and tested them in experimental treatments on mice with injured sciatic nerves.

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