Explore this issue:June 2011
CHICAGO — Neurotrophic factors can be introduced using stem cells and, along with the plant alkaloid vincristine, can be used to selectively reinnervate the larynx in rat models, a researcher from Indiana University said here on April 29 at the Annual Meeting of the Triological Society, held as part of the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings.
The study, which received the society’s Fowler Award, introduces a technique that could help patients with recurrent laryngeal nerve injury, according to the author.
Previous studies have shown that recurrent laryngeal nerve injury is followed by a high rate of spontaneous but abnormal reinnervation (Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2007;116(1):57-65); that vincristine, an alkaloid traditionally used to treat leukemia and some other cancers, can be used to prevent these aberrations (Laryngoscope. 2001;111(5):786-791); and that neurotrophic factor, such as IGF-1, can lead to enhanced reinnervation (Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1999;125:274-279). But this plasmid use is hindered by inefficient and unreliable gene transfers, said Stacey Halum, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. “Our concept was, if we could use stem cells as vectors to deliver neurotrophic factor, we could potentially selectively enhance reinnervation to certain muscles,” Dr. Halum said, “whereas we could use vincristine, in Paniello’s approach, to prevent antagonistic reinnervation. And this may allow us to selectively restore adductor activity.”