Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes devastating paralysis, loss of sensation, and loss of other bodily functions below the level of the injury. Most injuries in people are at the cervical level (broken neck), causing paralysis of arms and legs (quadriplegia or tetraplegia) and if at the high cervical level, also paralyze the ability to breath independently. Injuries to the part of the spine below the shoulders (thoracic-lumbar levels) cause paralysis of the legs. Injuries at any level also disrupt other bodily functions including bladder, bowel and sexual function. Reversing paralysis requires regeneration of connections that control ability to move, especially the corticospinal tract (CST).
SCI: Spinal Cord Injuries
|Geographic Area||New Cases Annually||Chronic Cases||Total Population||Estimated Total Cases||Source of Information|
|U.S.A.||78,000||1,462,725||318,900,000||1,540,725||Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation|
|Canada||8,614||161,033||35,160,000||169,647||Numbers inferred based on American data|
|Western Europe||97,225||1,820,552||397,500,000||1,917,777||Numbers inferred based on American data|
Potential Future Treatment Therapies for PTEN
Dr. Kai Lu, who conducted the original experiments in Dr. He’s lab, then went on to show that PTEN inhibition can enable regeneration of CST axons in chronic or long term spinal cord injury, magnifying the potential market for this therapy.
Further work has discussed PTEN inhibition therapy may be a useful treatment for conditions such as optic nerve damage, peripheral nerve injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and in theory it may aid in the reversal of “normal” age-related neuronal deterioration.