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Study IDs Possible Birth Injury Paralysis Treatment

Posted on November 4, 2019

A chemotherapy drug may help to prevent childhood paralysis resulting from birth injuries, according to a new study by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The study, which was done with mice, showed the drug bortezomib effective in preventing the disabling muscle tightness associated with cerebral palsy and brachial plexus injury.

Occurring in one in every 200 births, cerebral palsy and brachial plexus injuries have different causes but similar symptoms. Cerebral palsy results from damage to the brain during birth. Brachial plexus injuries are caused by damage to the nerves that control movement and feeling in the arms and hands. Both conditions result in muscle contractures, or tightness, that lead to limited mobility, limited skeletal growth and bone deformities, pain and paralysis. Typically, the symptoms are treated with surgery.

In the study, bortezomib was shown to preserve muscle growth and prevent loss of movement and paralysis after four weeks of treatment. The drug allowed muscles to grow normally, which prevented muscle contractures. The drug’s effect was strongest when administered shortly after birth but it also was so toxic that a second drug had to be administered for safety.

Future studies could confirm whether the drug would be safe for infants and whether it could be effective with older children.

Birth injuries are tragic, but even more so if they have happened because of negligence. If you need to speak with an experienced Philadelphia birth injury attorney, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your legal rights.