Sciatica: Biomarker Demonstrates Inflammation, Not Just Compression of Nerve Roots

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

“osteopathic treatment for sciatica” by betterhealthosteopathy is licensed under PDM 3.0Daniel Albrecht, PhD
Research Fellow in Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Research Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: A great deal of preclinical work in animal models of pain has established that activation of peripheral immune cells or, in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), immune cells called “glia” (microglia and astrocytes) play a key role in the establishment and/or maintenance of persistent pain. For instance, if you pharmacologically block activation of these cells in the nervous system, you are able to reduce/inhibit/prevent pain behaviors, e.g. in animals who have received a nerve injury.

This observation is very exciting, because it suggests that blocking neuroinflammation may be a viable way of treating pain. However, the evidence linking human chronic pain with neuroinflammation has so far been limited.

In this study we show, for the first time, that patients with chronic sciatica (that is, back pain that shoots down the leg) demonstrate elevations in the levels of a protein called the translocator protein (TSPO) in the spinal cord and in the nerve roots.

Because TSPO is a marker of neuroinflammation, our results suggest that sciatica is associated with neuroinflammation.

While on average patients do show elevations in the levels of the TSPO, we also saw significant variability across individuals. Importantly, patients that show stronger elevations (in the nerve roots) were those who benefit the most from receiving a local anti-inflammatory treatment (epidural spinal injection). This makes sense: patients whose nerve roots are inflamed benefit from an anti-inflammatory treatment. Those whose nerve roots aren’t inflamed, don’t receive the same benefit. In the latter case, the source of the inflammation and pain may not be the nerve roots, but may be the spinal cord, or, as we showed in a previous paper (Loggia et al., Brain 2015), the brain.  Continue reading

Donated Tissue Provides Surgeons Improved Ways to Repair and Reconnect Damaged or Severed Nerves

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Karen Zaderej

Karen Zaderej

Karen Zaderej
CEO, AxoGen

Karen Zaderej joined AxoGen in May 2006. She has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of AxoGen, Inc. since May 2010. Prior to her current role, she served as Chief Operating Officer from October 2007 to May 2010 and as Vice President of Marketing and Sales from May 2006 to October 2007. From October 2004 to May 2006, Karen worked for Zaderej Medical Consulting, a consulting firm she founded that helped medical device companies build and execute successful commercialization plans. From 1987 to 2004, Karen worked at Ethicon, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, where she held senior positions in marketing, business development, research & development, and manufacturing. Karen is a Director of SEBio, a non-profit supporting the life science industry in the southeastern United States. Karen earned an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University.

MedicalResearch.com: Please tell us about yourself and how you became CEO at AxoGen.

Response: I met Jamie Grooms, co-founder of AxoGen, in 2005 and we had one of those meetings that change your life. Jamie is a serial entrepreneur and loves to start businesses. He had tried to make nerves in the past but had been unsuccessful. When he saw new technology at the University of Florida that explained some of the issues in regenerating nerves, he decided to found a company focused on nerve repair. In parallel, I had been in business development and strategic marketing for Johnson & Johnson and we had looked at the nerve repair market. We determined there was a significant unmet need in nerve repair, but we could not find any technology at that time that solved the surgical need. Several years later, I left J&J and started a consulting business focused on market development and commercialization of early stage med tech companies. Jamie and I met, and I found the technology I had been looking for years earlier. We had an exciting conversation about the potential to improve the lives of patients with nerve injuries. I saw the possibility to create an entire new segment in med tech, one dedicated to nerve repair. With that great potential in front of me, I closed my consulting business, moved to Florida, and joined the AxoGen team.

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