The Spinal Injury Project team at Griffith University continue to work on the ‘Cleaning Up The Injury Site’ project which is funded by the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation.
Olfactory ensheathing cells are known to have a range of properties suitable to repair spinal cord injury. From a therapeutic point-of-view, the trick is to get the cells to do their job after they’ve been transplanted into the hostile injury site. To enhance the activity of olfactory ensheathing cells the team is looking at some drugs that have been approved for use in humans for other diseases.
Dr Tammy Tseng is an expert in pharmacology and she has used her in-depth knowledge to identify some key drugs that may act through specific molecular pathways to activate the olfactory cells. Working with Dr Mo Chen, the inventor of the three-dimensional nerve bridge technology, they have tested one drug in conventional two-dimensional cell production cultures and shown that it is effective. More recently, they have now also shown that this drug is when the cells are grown in the nerve bridges.
These exciting results now allow the team to plan to add the drug application into the therapy pipeline so that it can be used in conjunction with the cell transplantation to improve repair on the injured spinal cord in humans.
The next step is to test the combination of drug and cell treatment in animal models, so stay tuned for the next round of outcomes.
Pictured from L to R: Dr Tammy Tseng, Dr Souptik Basu and Dr Jasmine Kaur – Spinal Injury Project team members working on the “Cleaning up the injury site” research project led by Assoc Prof. Jenny Ekberg
This important research project has been funded by the Foundation since 2018, with a total investment of $450,000. The research is ongoing and we look forward to sharing more updates with you in the near future.