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Spinal Cord Injury

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
Total: 183,839 3,444,310 751,560,000 3,628,149

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.

Patient Resources

Christopher Reeve Foundation christopherreeve.org

NIH ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Spinal-Cord-Injury-Information-Page

Travis Roy Foundation travisroyfoundation.org

Unite 2 Fight Paralysis u2fp.org

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