Researchers studying neuroprotection at The Miami Project are identifying the early and progressive injury processes that occur after spinal cord injury and result in irreversible damage. By understanding the cellular and molecular basis of neuronal death after spinal cord injury, Miami Project scientists work to develop therapies to prevent the progressive injury damage that occurs in the hours, weeks and months after injury.
During the acute stages of spinal cord injury, inflammation induced by trauma can cause significant neuropathology, so Miami Project researchers are investigating the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. They have found that reducing inflammation in the early stages after spinal cord injury markedly improves neuronal survival and recovery of function. Miami Project researchers are also investigating pharmacological interventions that inhibit chronic neuronal death mechanisms and promote survival of remaining neurons.
Recent preclinical studies have found that mild to moderate hypothermia provides neuroprotection in central nervous system trauma. These studies have led to clinical trials of hypothermia in patients with traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury.