Visit the NEW CoM Homepage |  University of Kentucky |  UK HealthCare |  Give to Medicine |  Diversity  
UK College of Medicine logo Link to the College of Medicine web site
  • ed4
  • rs2
  • cs1
  • ad2

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation





Research Accomplishments

Dr. Joe E. Springer Professor and Vice Chair for Research and the Cardinal Hill Endowed Chair in Neurorehabilitation in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation completes research studies touting effective, successful combination treatment in acute SCI patients that has lead to a phase II clinical trial.

Drs. Joe E. Springer and James W. Geddes on the neuroprotective effects of the drug riluzole in spinal cord injury models carried out several years ago is in the process of being translated into a phase II clinical trial. Drs. Springer and Geddes were the first to investigate the neuroprotective properties of riluzole, a glutamate release inhibitor, in a rat spinal cord injury model 12 years ago showing that it could prevent secondary injury mediated by the proteolytic enzyme calpain. Dr. Springer's lab then went on to do additional work including a demonstration that the combination of riluzole and high dose methylprednisolone, the latter having been the unofficial standard of care in acute SCI since 1990, could produce a better effect than either treatment alone in regards to improving functional recovery.

Subsequent to Joe and Jim's work, Dr. Michael Fehlings, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto and a leading clinical investigator in the SCI field, became interested in riluzole and after confirming the UK work in his own laboratory has organized multicenter phase II clinical trial to assess the safety of riluzole treatment in acute SCI patients.

The University of Louisville is signed on as a participating center in the trial which is being supported by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Research Foundation, the Ontario Medical Foundation and the Department of Defense. A major advantage to riluzole is that it is already a marketed drug that is employed to slow the progression of ALS with a proven safety record. In fact, it was Dr. Springer's original interest in ALS, a largely spinal cord neurodegenerative disease that first caused him to hypothesize that riluzole might also be useful in acute SCI. Moreover, as noted above, it appears to complement the use of high dose methylprednisolone setting up the possibility of combination therapy with the two agents.

Comments and Corrections |  An Equal Opportunity University |  Jobs  |  Terms, Conditions and Accessibility Statements   |  Privacy
© 2012, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, 138 Leader Ave., Lexington, Kentucky, USA 40506-9983
Student Affairs: (859) 323-5261 · Admissions: (859) 323-6161 · Clinical Questions: (859) 257-1000 · Dean's Office: (859) 323-6582
Page last updated Friday, September 28, 2012