Developing a new treatment for severe spinal cord injury in dogs

The Department of Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University are currently 1 year into a 3 year clinical trial investigating the use of Olfactory Ensheathing Cells (OECs) in dogs with spinal cord injury (SCI), such as degenerative disc disease in Dachshunds. The aim is to repair the spinal cord with an injection of cells (OECs) taken from the nose. Those cells may help the nerves in the spinal cord to regenerate.

There are 28 dogs enrolled on the trial so far but up to 56 dogs are needed to achieve statistical significance for the trial.

The inclusion criteria for the trial are:

i) Weigh less than 20kg;

ii) Have a suitable temperament to comply with the procedures;

iii) Have a SCI located between T3 (the 3rd thoracic vertebrae) and L3 (the third lumbar vertebrae) caused by an acute traumatic episode – either fracture / luxation or intervertebral disc extrusion;

iv) Have reached a static (3 months), unacceptable stage of neurological recovery (complete loss of motor and sensory function to the pelvic limbs and incontinence);

v) Have owners that are able to comply with the need to return the dog for repeated functional evaluation (mainly treadmill evaluation once a month for 6 months after the treatment).

If you would like to know more information or discuss possible inclusion in the trial, then please go to their website http://www.vet.cam.ac.uk/news-and-events/scr/ , or contact Nicolas Granger ( ng311@cam.ac.uk ) or Nick Jeffery ( ndj1000@cam.ac.uk ) at the Queens Veterinary School Hospital by email or on 01223 337621.

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