Repurposing a Multiple Sclerosis Drug in Severe Limb Trauma*
Principal Investigator: Dr. John Elfar
Disease: Traumatic Limb Injury
Research Description: When a limb injury is severe enough to cause paralysis, there are no relevant tests that can tell if a nerve is severed or not. Severed nerves require urgent surgery whereas non-severed nerves are best left to recover without surgery. Without a usable test of the status of the nerve, surgeons guess at the answer to this critical question. Dr. Elfar and his team discovered that a drug used to treat multiple sclerosis patients, 4-aminopyridine (4AP), has the property of awakening intact but paralyzed nerves. They will conduct a small, proof-of-concept clinical trial to test if the drug can be repurposed as a single-dose test for severed nerves in trauma patients. If successful, this pilot trial could lead to a desperately needed diagnostic to help providers distinguish between permanent and recoverable nerve injuries in every trauma patient, right away.
Funding Partners: Goldman Philanthropic Partnerships, the Kahlert Foundation
CWR funding role: Primary funder