AMPAkines also may have potential utility in the treatment and management of SCI to enhance motor functions and improve the quality of life for SCI patients. An estimated 17,000 new cases of SCI occur each year in the United States, most a result of automobile accidents. Currently, there are roughly 282,000 people living with spinal cord injuries, which often produce impaired motor function.
SCI can profoundly impair neural plasticity leading to significant morbidity and mortality in human accident victims. Plasticity is a fundamental property of the nervous system that enables continuous alteration of neural pathways and synapses in response to experience or injury. A large body of literature exists regarding the ability of AMPAkines to stimulate neural plasticity, possibly due to an enhanced synthesis and secretion of various growth factors.
The Company has been working with Dr. David Fuller at the University of Florida which has funding from NIH, to evaluate the use of AMPAkines for the treatment of compromised motor function in SCI. Using mice that have received spinal hemi-sections, CX717 was observed to increase motor nerve activity bilaterally. The effect on the hemisected side was greater than that measured on the intact side, with the recovery approximating that seen on the intact side prior to administration of ampakine. The doses of AMPAkines active in SCI were comparable to those demonstrating antagonism of opioid induced respiratory depression, indicating target engagement of the AMPA receptors.