queenslandAccording to Queensland researchers, blocking the protein EphA4 may serve as a treatment for spinal cord injury (SCI), improving balance and coordination.

A recent news release reports that researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), and the University were able to demonstrate the blocking the protein could rapidly restore balance and limb coordination in models of SCIs.

Perry Bartlett, BDSc, PhD, QBI director and study co-leader, states that the research ultimately confirmed and expanded upon previous studies which suggested that blocking the action of this protein receptor prevented the loss of nerve tissue following injury and promoted repair. The release notes Bartlett and Andrew Boyd, BMedSc, MBBS, PhD, FRACP, QIMR professor, reportedly identified the role of the protein in 1998. The researchers also demonstrated that the EphA4 protein was vital in the development of the nerves that control walking and other complex functions.

The researchers then developed a “decoy” protein to block EphA4 function. The approach has been used to improve recovery of function following SCI in animals. Boyd notes that the primary goal, “would be to use the ‘decoy’ treatment immediately after spinal cord injury to try to improve the patient’s recovery.”

The study appears in the Journal of Neurotrauma, for more information, click here

Source(s): University of Queensland Australia, Queensland Brain Institute