Roberta Friedman, Ph.D.Special to BioWorld

Researchers associated with Gliatech Inc. have demonstratedthe anti-scarring effects of a carbohydrate polymer, whichinhibited in spinal surgery on rats the formation of fibroustissue that can cause adhesions and pain at surgical sites.

Gliatech scientist Jerry Silver, who is also on the faculty at CaseWestern Reserve University, and colleagues used GL402 in arat model of spinal surgery. When applied to the site ofsurgery, GL402 nearly completely inhibited scarring, comparedwith rats operated on without the carbohydrate. The animalswere examined for scarring two weeks after surgery.

"The spinal nerve roots are more mobile and therefore may beless prone to recurrent nerve compression," the researcherssaid in the current edition of the journal ExperimentalNeurology.

Work at the company in dogs is going well, Silver said. "Humantrials will probably start in the spring," he said.

Silver, who is a director of the privately held Clevelandcompany and a member of its scientific advisory board, saidthe compoundLs anti-scarring effect may also prove useful inpreventing adhesions from abdominal surgery, and in theuterus and fallopian tubes to prevent infertility. Surgery atother bone sites and in the heart may also benefit from GL402,Silver said.

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