Australian regenerative medicine company Orthocell (ASX:OCC) has announced positive interim clinical results for the use of its CelGro for enhancing repair of peripheral nerves.
In a statement, the company said following surgery with CelGro, patients regained muscle function in the affected limbs and have either ceased or significantly reduced prescription pain medication, including opioid-based therapy.
According to leading Australian orthopaedic nerve specialist and clinical trial lead, Dr Alex O’Beirne, “Observing the positive progress of the initial patients gave me the confidence to use CelGro in more severe cases, such as quadriplegia.
"The microsurgery required to return arm or hand function to quadriplegic patients is complex and challenging, and can require multiple nerve repairs. CelGro facilitates tensionless repair, and can prevent regenerating nerves being compressed or trapped by scar tissue. I am very pleased with these patients’ progress, and their arm and hand function continues to improve.”
Patients participating in the clinical trial had previously suffered traumatic nerve injuries following motor vehicle, sporting and/or work-related incidents, resulting in impaired use of the affected limbs and, in more severe cases, quadriplegia.
Some patients experienced significant pain and were unable to perform basic daily tasks without assistance. In many cases, patients were unable to work and participate in recreational activities.
The company said a clinical follow-up of the first twelve participants 12 months after surgery found voluntary muscle movement was restored in 96 per cent of nerve repairs and 86 per cent of patients who required prescription pain medication, including opioid-based medications, were able to significantly reduce or stop their medication completely.
In the trial, CelGro is being used together with microsurgery to repair the damaged nerves and re-establish the connections to target muscles. Patients received one or several nerve repairs augmented with CelGro in one or both upper limbs. Functional recovery after treatment was assessed by grading the power of target muscles closest to the site of nerve repair.