Antibodies against Nogo-A to enhance plasticity, regeneration and functional recovery after acute spinal cord injury, a multicenter European clinical proof of concept trial (NISCI)

Spinal cord injury  frequently has severe and devastating consequences. Patients are left with permanent paralysis of legs, arms and other body parts. This restricts their independent life. Yet, there is no treat­ment available to regenerate the interrupted nerve fibers and repair the damaged spinal cord. The effects of acute spinal cord injury might be stopped or even reversed with an intrathecal antibody against the growth inhibiting protein Nogo-A (see figure).

The EU Horizon 2020 collaborative NISCI project is a multi-center, clinical, proof of concept trial aiming at the repair of the injured spinal cord. Animal studies have demonstrated the potential of regrowth of nerves following the application of antibodies against Nogo-A. The application was also shown to be tolerated by patients in a clinical phase I study.

The subproject “Biomarkers – Imaging” at the MPI CBS is an international collaboration between Prof. Weiskopf (MPI‑CBS) and Dr. Freund (University of Zurich), bringing together their unique expertise in MRI methods and clinical neuroscience. We are developing and deploying state-of-the-art quantitative MRI methods for the characterization of brain and spinal cord microstructure. These methods will serve as sensitive biomarkers for treatment effects and potential adverse effects of the antibody treatment as well as prediction of clinical outcomes. This includes deploying the MRI tech­niques across the different clinical trial sites and ensuring their high performance

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