UBC researchers find gene signature that predicts outcome after spinal cord injury

Originally published on the Faculty of Medicine’s website. This article focuses on the research conducted by Michael Skinnider, an MD/PhD student in the Foster Lab.

University of British Columbia researchers have determined a gene signature that is linked to the severity of spinal cord injury in animals and humans, according to a study in the open-access journal eLife.

The discovery of key genes that are switched on or off in response to spinal cord injury, described in the online peer-reviewed journal eLife, could inform the development of biomarkers that predict recovery and possibly pinpoint new targets for treatment.

At the moment, there are no widely available treatments capable of immediately restoring motor and sensory function after injury. A major barrier is the lack of understanding of the complex cascade of biological processes that occur when a spinal cord injury happens.

“Our understanding of the pathophysiological processes triggered by spinal cord injury is fragmentary,” explains senior author Michael Skinnider, an MD/PhD student in the lab of Leonard Foster, a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. “We set out to integrate the data from decades of small-scale studies using a systems biology approach.”

To read the full news release on the Faculty of Medicine’s website, please click here.