Regeneration and Reinnervation of Spinal Cord in Rats Treated with NurExone’s Intranasal ExoPTEN

NurExone Biologic is pleased to report positive imaging results from an internal preclinical study of its investigational drug ExoPTEN. The image analysis and measurements confirmed successful nerve regeneration following traumatic transection of the spinal cord in rats. These imaging results align with previous results showing a remarkable recovery of motor function in 75% of paralyzed rats suffering from spinal cord injuries and treated with the new therapy.

During a recent internal preclinical trial, the company’s ExoPTEN drug caused 75% of rats to regain hind limb reflex, some motor function, and sensory control. Subsequently, the spinal cords of rats from the study were subjected to advanced Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) to assess the structural integrity of the spinal cord. Our DTI analysis yielded representative observations for different rat groups as follows:

  • Intranasal ExoPTEN with recovered motor function – Reinnervation, indicating a restoration of nerve supply to the spinal cord below the transection. (Fig.1A)
  • Control group – Atrophied and de-innervated spinal cord below the transection (Fig.1A)
  • A healthy spinal cord, without trauma, is included as a reference for comparison. (Fig.1A)

DTI was performed using conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging techniques. Furthermore, fractional anisotropy (FA) measurements were used for a quantitative assessment of tissue integrity. The results showed higher FA values indicating reduced tissue microstructural damage in the caudal region of the ExoPTEN-treated rats compared to the control SCI group (Fig. 1B). A range of healthy rat FA values from a separate experiment is included in Fig. 1B for reference. It is important to note that the nerves below the lesion site presented better survival and less degeneration, which is one of the common pathophysiological conditions after injury.

ExoPTEN is being developed to be a minimally invasive ExoTherapy for spinal cord injuries (SCI) administrated intranasally and yielding neuron regeneration and rewiring in traumatically damaged spinal cords. The drug is being developed using NurExone’s proprietary ExoTherapy platform for producing and loading exosomes with pharmaceutical cargo targeting central nervous system injuries.

“We are delighted to receive promising results from this study, which demonstrated reinnervation as a result of our ExoPTEN product,” said Dr. Lior Shaltiel, Chief Executive Officer. “Moreover, it validates the functional recovery we observed with non-invasive administration of our investigational ExoPTEN drug. We are eager to advance our research and clinical trials to translate these results to the millions of human patients in need.”

Diffusion Tensor Imaging and Measurements

(A) To assess the structural integrity of the spinal cord, 9.4T conventional MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was performed in control-treated (IN) SCI animals, ExoPTEN-treated (IN) SCI animals, and intact rats. In the control-treated SCI animals, caudal nerve tracts were completely severed at the epicenter indicated, leaving the caudal spinal cord de-innervated and atrophied. ExoPTEN promoted reinnervation and nourishment to the caudal spinal cord. (B) Fractional anisotropy (FA) is a measure of tissue integrity. Thus, FA decreases with tissue microstructural damage. FA recordings caudal to the injury site were higher in ExoPTEN-treated rats compared to the control SCI group (B). The green area represents the range of healthy rats’ FA values as obtained in a separate experiment. These DTI tractography images and measurements indicate re-innervation and nourishment to the caudal spinal cords in ExoPTEN rats treated intranasally.

SourceGlobe NewsWire

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