Local Delivery of Therapeutic Biomolecules to the Injured Spinal Cord

Funding Details
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Grant type: Operating Grant
  • Years: 2012/13 to 2015/16
  • Total Funding: $411,821
Keywords
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Project Summary

Traumatic spinal cord injury is devastating. It comes without warning to our most physically active youth. There is no cure for spinal cord injury, and only limited surgical interventions are available. There are some biomolecules that have generated significant excitement in the community, but their delivery to the injured spinal cord has become a limitation to their ultimate clinical use. The blood-spinal cord barrier limits most molecules from entry into spinal cord tissue. Those molecules that enter into the spinal cord tissue have to be delivered in such high doses that they have undesirable side effects. We have designed an innovative delivery strategy where biomolecules are incorporated into a biodegradable biomaterial that can be easily injected in the fluid-filled cavity that surrounds the spinal cord. This minimally-invasive delivery strategy ensures that the biomolecules are delivered locally - that is directly to the injured tissue - without any deleterious effects on the tissue itself. In fact the biomaterial has a net positive effect on the tissue. Here we propose to advance this innovative strategy to deliver a combination of clinically-relevant biomolecules that require local release for efficacy. We will study the tissue and functional benefit in both medically-relevant subacute and chronic spinal cord injury models.