Science Daily has reported on a study that may be a possible treatment for muscle contractures in childhood paralysis. This could be a big book for people with brachial plexus injuries, Erb’s palsy, or cerebral palsy.
The study was performed by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on mice. Researchers are able to mimic the symptoms of cerebral palsy and brachial plexus palsy in mice, both of which can cause childhood paralysis.
A drug called bortezomib was studied and it found to help rebalance muscle growth and prevented contractures after four weeks. Future studies are needed to see if the same effect works in humans, but it is a promising start.
Muscle contractures are a significant problem with these conditions. The muscles stiffen up so hard that they limit limb function. If this happens over time while the child grows, it causes problems with skeletal growth. The affected children are often in pain and need extensive medical intervention to deal with the issue.
Bortezomib is normally used in chemotherapy, but it is also known to inhibit protein breakdown. When muscles stay in a contracted position it causes the body to shorten the muscle. The drug prevents this from happening. However, the drug is also toxic. Researchers had to add a second drug to control the toxicity after some mice died early in the study.
We hope that future studies find a way to use this or a similar drug with fewer side effects to help children control their contractures. It would be a big step forward toward improving the quality of life of children with these conditions.