The barrier-breaking ISP drug did not cause spinal cord axons known to control movements to cross the scar and reconnect with brain neurons above the injury site.
Dr. Silver and his colleagues think this means the ISP-induced sprouting helped the rats recover by increasing the signal sent by the few remaining intact axons.
"This is very promising. We now have an agent that may work alone or in combination with other treatments to improve the lives of many," said Dr. Silver. He and his colleagues are seeking to test the ISP drug in preclinical trials.