Recent progress and challenges in the treatment of spinal cord injury

Ting Tian, Sensen Zhang, Maojun Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Spinal cord injury (SCI) disrupts the structural and functional connectivity between the higher center and the spinal cord, resulting in severe motor, sensory, and autonomic dysfunction with a variety of complications. The pathophysiology of SCI is complicated and multifaceted, and thus individual treatments acting on a specific aspect or process are inadequate to elicit neuronal regeneration and functional recovery after SCI. Combinatory strategies targeting multiple aspects of SCI pathology have achieved greater beneficial effects than individual therapy alone. Although many problems and challenges remain, the encouraging outcomes that have been achieved in preclinical models offer a promising foothold for the development of novel clinical strategies to treat SCI. In this review, we characterize the mechanisms underlying axon regeneration of adult neurons and summarize recent advances in facilitating functional recovery following SCI at both the acute and chronic stages. In addition, we analyze the current status, remaining problems, and realistic challenges towards clinical translation. Finally, we consider the future of SCI treatment and provide insights into how to narrow the translational gap that currently exists between preclinical studies and clinical practice. Going forward, clinical trials should emphasize multidisciplinary conversation and cooperation to identify optimal combinatorial approaches to maximize therapeutic benefit in humans with SCI.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProtein & cell
StatePublished - Feb 10 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-03-21
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2020-CRG9-4352
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2022YFA1302701), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32030056), the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under Award (OSR-2020-CRG9-4352), and the Tsinghua-Foshan Innovation Special Fund (TFISF-2022THFS6122).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Drug Discovery
  • Cell Biology


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