In a potentially groundbreaking development, researchers have identified a heretofore unknown, yet extremely helpful immune response which occurs following an injury to the body’s central nervous system. If it becomes possible to harness and regulate this immune response, doctors may have the ability to design innovative and significantly more effective treatments for spinal cord and brain injuries.
It may prove possible in the future for researchers to develop better treatments for degenerative illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and ALS.
The Maine personal injury lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing are known for providing unrivaled representation to victims of brain and spinal cord injuries caused by the negligence of others, many of whom may someday be able to take advantage of treatments that emerge from this exciting discovery.
How the newly-discovered immune response aids in healing
According to the researchers behind the recently-published study, the newly-observed immune response is fully independent of the other process in which the immune system is ordinarily prompted to act. In essence, it has now been determined that when injured, the central nervous system speaks to the immune system in a previously unrecognized manner, sending “danger signals” to activate immune responses right away.
The consequence of that communication is the production of a vitally important molecule known as interleukin 4, which helps promote the regeneration and protection of neurons which might otherwise have been destroyed by rampant inflammation in the aftermath of the injury. Once the neurons of the central nervous system have died, they are permanently gone and cannot be revived.
The study’s lead author, James T. Walsh of the University of Virginia, explains that the immune response must be very deliberate and measured, or else a great deal of collateral harm can occur to tissues other than those housing the damaged central nervous system neurons. Clearly, a precision immune response is required in order for the best possible outcome to be achieved. They key will be whether or not doctors can develop ways to more closely manage the response and tailor it to minimize damage while maximizing its potential benefits.
Possible applications offer real hope
At the moment, no effective treatment methods exist to facilitate regeneration and survival of neurons following an injury to the central nervous system. Historically speaking, treatments for serious spinal cord injuries were based in suppression of the body’s immune response as a means to prevent ancillary harm from occurring. However, such treatments have not been shown to be tremendously helpful.
Now that there is a better understanding of the potential benefits of the post-injury immune response, doctors may attempt to boost the body’s interleukin 4 production following an injury to increase the protective qualities it can yield. It may also be possible to more accurately assess how individual patients are likely to respond to treatments based on the number of cells in their bodies capable of producing interleukin-4.
Immediate help for spinal cord and brain injury victims
While these recent revelations certainly seem to hold real promise in terms of eventually leading to more effective treatments for debilitating injuries to the brain and spinal cord, an unfortunately large number of individuals are suffering the far-reaching impact of such harm right now. They do not have the luxury of being able to wait for medical advancements that may or may not come during their lifetimes.
The physical, emotional and financial toll of such injuries can often seem impossible to overcome, and that is why the help of a Maine spinal cord injury lawyer with Hardy, Wolf & Downing can prove invaluable.
If you have sustained a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury due to the acts or omissions of another, the law offers you the opportunity to seek full financial compensation, possibly including payment for medical expenses, ongoing treatment and therapy, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
To successfully establish the negligence of the party responsible for your injury, it will be necessary to enlist the aid of lawyers who enjoy access to a broad network of medical experts, case investigators and legal support staff all of whom are ready to build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
Since 1976, we at Hardy, Wolf & Downing have dedicated our careers to advocating for the rights of the seriously injured and are prepared to fight for you. Contact us at 1-800-INJURED to schedule a no-cost initial consultation to learn more about your options.