Take Part in the Next Generation of Spinal Cord Injury Treatments with These Companies
Thursday, November 16, 2023
For anyone with a spinal cord injury (SCI), time is of the essence. The typical treatment scenario involves immobilization and surgery as quickly as possible. After that, managing inflammation and pain with medicine is standard of care. When the “acute” injury is irreparable, either partially or completely, and transitions into a “chronic” injury, there is no known treatment available to fully reverse the condition.
However, the future is brighter than ever for emerging therapies for both acute and chronic SCI care. Promising work has been and is being done in the area of bioengineering, stem cells, stimulation, and exosomes to bring new hope to patients and big returns to investors.
Some of the latest developments were highlighted earlier this year at the 1st Annual Spinal Cord Injury Investor Symposium presented by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Lineage Cell Therapeutics, Inc.
. Participants included ONWARD Medical N.V. (Euronext: ONWD), AbbVie (NYSE American: LCTX) , and NervGen Pharma (NASDAQ: ABBV) (TSX-Venture: NGEN) . (OTCQX: NGENF)
Another public company to get on the radar for breakthrough developments in SCI treatments across the continuum is NurExone Biologic Inc.
. The company has recently received a CDN$350,000 cash infusion as part of a (TSX-Venture: NRX) Eureka program for Israel-Canada bilateral work in therapy for chronic SCI.
Further, NurExone was recently in the headlines for receiving
Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA for its regenerative therapy for acute spinal cord injury called ExoPTEN. ExoPTEN is the first product of NurExone’s ExoTherapy platform. It is an intra-nasally administered exosome-based therapy designed to promote neuro-regeneration to treat acute SCIs. Orphan Drug Designation is purposefully structured to encourage companies to streamline development of new treatments for diseases and conditions effecting less than 200,000 people per year. There are about 17,000 new cases of SCI annually in the U.S. During the clinical process, the FDA will provide NurExone financial and other incentives to assist in development. Should ExoPTEN be approved for commercialization in the future, the designation affords NurExone extra protection against any potential competition.
In pre-clinical research, rats with completely severed spinal cords were treated with ExoPTEN. After therapy, the rats regained use of their hind legs and demonstrated other notable body improvements. The therapy used exosomes derived from mesenchymal stem cells as the vehicle for delivering treatment (short and modified interfering RNA that inhibits production of PTEN protein) to regenerate damaged spinal tissue.
Exosomes were once considered cellular waste. Scientists now know that nothing could be further from the truth. Exosomes are becoming increasingly understood for their role in homeostasis and their utility to leverage their innate ability to transport a variety of cargo as they move throughout the body. It is now widely accepted that exosomes can shuttle not only biological cargo like proteins, mRNA, DNA, and lipids, but also active pharmaceutical ingredients to safely and precisely deliver payloads to target tissue.
Being naturally occurring, exosomes offer a number of advantages over today’s lab-synthesized drug delivery technologies, namely not being viewed by the immune system as foreign and triggering a cytokine storm. Plus, they can cross the blood-brain barrier, which has implications for treating a litany of potential neurodegenerative diseases and chronic injury conditions outside of SCI, including traumatic brain injuries.
The focus of NurExone at this moment is initiating clinical trials to validate the regenerative effects in the animal models to humans. While inspiring and on its face, clarity to the overall opportunity will accompany success in SCI, as proof-of-concept to use exosomes as a drug delivery method in humans will be complete. Where this little 31-cent stock goes from there is anyone’s guess.
NurExone Biologic Inc. (TSX-Venture: NRX) Full Corporate Write-Up:
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