InVivo Therapeutics has announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved human trials for a device intended to reduce damage after a spinal cord injury. The device is called a biopolymer scaffold product and the company will begin a trial of the device in the next few months. The study on five patients will last about 15 months. There are currently no FDA approved treatments that intervene directly in the spinal cord following an injury. The device provides structural support to a damaged spinal cord in order to spare tissue from scarring while improving recovery and prognosis after a traumatic spinal cord injury.
This is hopeful news for an injury that devastates the lives of the injured and their loved ones. Roughly 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury occur every year, not including those that die from such injuries in route to the hospital. Currently there are roughly 259,000 people that are living with the devastating effects of spinal cord injury in the United States. This number is an estimate however, and may be as high as over 300,000 individuals.
The most common causes of spinal cord injuries are motor vehicle accidents, falls, violence (primarily from gunshot wounds) and sports injuries. The number from sports injuries has decreased while the number of incidence from falls has risen over time.
The Padberg, Corrigan and Appelbaum law firm has handled far too many of these devastating injuries. Any technologies that can help alleviate the extent of the damage from spinal cord injury are a welcome and hopeful sign. Let’s hope that the trials are successful and that help can be implemented for those injured in the near future.