Systematic review lays groundwork for regenerative research in CP

April 14, 2015

Lack of blood supply to the placenta and resulting damage to white matter in the brain are implicated in a significant number of cases of cerebral palsy. 

Also known as intrauterine growth insufficiency, (IUGR) has been a significant focus for researchers in NeuroDevNet's Cerebral Palsy Research Group. Two principal investigators, Dr. Michael Fehlings and Dr. Jerome Yager, are poised to publish significant findings on the potential for restorative treatment after IUGR-caused white matter injury, and undertook systematic review of animal model evidence to examine precedents lay the groundwork for these publications.

"Our lab has been collaborating with Dr. Yager at the University of Alberta on a very intensive examination of an IUGR model of CP," added Dr. Fehlings. "We're very interested in the capacity of neural stem cells to regenerate brain - especially specific targets in white matter tracts," he added, "and we're setting the stage for a major research paper arising from NeuroDevNet-funded research that quantifies the injury to the brain in IUGR, and will serve as a model for cutting edge therapeutics," said Dr. Fehlings.

"In the systematic review," he continued, "in the concluding comments and interpretation, we say that there are important consequences in animal models that are completely relevant to imaging findings in humans. We placed the review in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology because the journal is read quite widely by clinicians and clinician scientists working with CP. We're trying to engage in dialogue in limitations and advantages of our approach, and say, 'here’s what we’re able to model'."

Work on the systematic review was led by first author and medical student Alfred Basilious, who became interested in neurosurgery and translational research as a result of the experience, said Fehlings.

Neurological outcomes of animal models of uterine artery ligation and relevance to human intrauterine growth restriction: a systematic review is freely available in full text via PubMed.

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2015 May;57(5):420-430. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12599. Epub 2014 Oct 21.