Joao Nuno Alves

Joao Nuno Alves

University position

PhD student
Supervised by Professor James Fawcett

Departments

Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Institutes

Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair

Email

jbla2@cam.ac.uk

Home page

http://www.brc.cam.ac.uk

Research Themes

Clinical and Veterinary Neuroscience

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Interests

Chondroitinase is a promising candidate for the treatment of human spinal cord injury (SCI). It is a bacterial enzyme that cleaves glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains from chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans, which present a major barrier to nerve regeneration. Removal of GAG chains by the enzyme promotes axon regeneration across the injury site and also reactivates plasticity of synaptic connections. These actions have been shown to produce substantial recovery of function after spinal cord injury. A major disadvantage of using the bacterial enzyme is the problem of delivery,which requires multiple injections into the injury site, increasing the risk of further trauma and infection. Prof Fawcett's group has therefore engineered a chondroitinase gene that can be used to transduce cells at the site of injury. The aim of this project is to assess the therapeutic efficacy of delivery of this modified gene in an experimental (rat) model of SCI treated via cellular transplants ('bridge grafts').

Research Focus

Keywords

None specified

Clinical conditions

Spinal cord injury

Stroke

Traumatic brain injury

Equipment

No equipment indicated

Collaborators

No collaborators listed

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