2018 World Premiere: a life-changing therapy for SCI patients

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Neurogel en marche – 2017, the year of tangible achievements for the Neurogel project

    Dear members, donors; and all those involved in fighting for a worldwide cure for paralysis,

    First of all, we would like to offer our best wishes for the year 2017


    We are entering a new phase of our associative project.

    After funding numerous research and studies, we are now prepared to start clinical trials on humans.
    As you know, we gradually moved away from Neurogel because even more promising results were obtained with the activated fat produced by Professor Gorio's team in Milan.
 

A first clinical trial for the dermis (= skin lesions) is planned for summer 2017.

The dermis trial is a necessary phase prior to the implant of activated fat into the spinal cord.
This trial does not require any specific authorization because the transfer of adipose tissue is a current practice in plastic surgery.
The properties of activated fat enable the effective treatment of numerous skin lesions (sclerodermis; burns, bed sores, etc… )
Read more on the blog
Following this skin trial, we will launch our first spinal cord trial.
We are still waiting for the publications on activated fat in a lesion in mice, within the framework of Parkinson’s disease.
    Professor Gorio will make a presentation through a video as soon as his publications are published. His publications and the excellent results obtained will allow us to advance our clinical project for a spinal cord trial.
    The 10 patient trial, includes the required post-op intensive physiotherapy, will amount to about 3 million Euros.
    The success of the test on the dermis will help obtain funds from investors who are eager to see results.
    We will provide you with regular updates regarding any future developments and progress of the various phases.
    We are looking for a new neurosurgeon for our clinical trial on the spinal cord.
    We had the honor of counting prestigious neurosurgeon, Dr. Antonio Reis of Lisbon Portugal as a member of our scientific council. He was actually nominated man of the year in his country in 2006.
    Unfortunately, Dr. Reis has passed away and we are currently looking for a neurosurgeon capable of carrying out his protocol to implant activated fat. We have narrowed our choice down to three neurosurgeons.
    We are also grieved by the passing away of our secretary, Stéphanie Mauberret, companion of Jean-Luc Gay, our president, and mother of their little girl Anaïs. We pay tribute to her for the unrelentless and incredible work she performed for so many years to advance our project.
    Jean-Luc Gay is very affected by his loss, but we look forward to his return which is essential to our project, in view of his expertise in clinical trial regulations.
    Professor Gorio underwent hip replacement surgery in November 2016 and should be able to get back to his laboratory by the end of January. This explains the slight delay in publications.
 

    Does activated fat affect the quality of Neurogel?

    The answer is no, because Neurogel is a hydrogel that has amply shown that it was suitable for supporting the growth of a new tissue within a lesion.
    In this sense, Neurogel was the right choice: it provided a three-dimensional, biocompatible and bioadhesive growth bridge.
    However, it has its limitations and requires combination with stem cells and / or other growth factors for better functional recovery.
    Many similar studies have been carried out, such as Professor Eva Sykova’s in 2010 , combining mesenchenchymal stem cells with a similar type of hydrogel. Today, numerous studies use a growth matrix combined with stem cells or other factors. It seems Neurogel has set a trend.
The results obtained with Neurogel are not yet those expected for reasons that we explained in part in Jean-Luc Gay’s March 2016 newsletter.


    This led to the following question, “Why not combine Neurogel with activated fat or specific stem cells from activated fat?”

    Professor Gorio's preclinical tests have shown that his activated grease is bio-adhesive, like Neurogel.
    It also turns out
    that the structure of the activated fat is three-dimensional;
    unlike artificial biomaterials such as Neurogel, activated fat from adipose tissue is not fragile;
    the manipulation is practical and the implantation adjusts very easily to all forms of spinal cord lesions.

    Activated fat is an autologous implant, that is, it comes from the patient and it has not been genetically or enzymatically modified. It is a natural implant, without ethical constraint and without risk.
    An evaluation by histology and microscopy showed the implant of the activated fat remained in the lesion site for more than 3 weeks.
    Activated fat acts as an implant with stem cells, and is  capable of surviving for a long time within an injured site, differentiating into neural cells and possessing extremely high levels of immunosuppressive, anti-inflammatory factors and numerous cell growth factors .
    In short, each of us is endowed with a natural form of Neurogel, much more powerful than an engineered one.
    So here we are at last, on the last stretch of the road to clinical trials, and this is why, today, more than ever we need your mobilization.
    I want to take the opportunity to thank our members, families, associations and friends for the fabulous work they have freely provided, informing people about our project and raising funds.
    We must now finalize our project:  we can do it with your help and with the help of people of good will.
    Till next time then, with even more news on activated fat and our project.
    Pierre Rondio
    Acting President
 
 
 
 
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Dear member and donor of Neurogel en Marche Association,

As you know, since 2006 we have surrounded ourselves with a solid scientific counsel made up of top-ranking researchers.   In 2004, our association became aware that Neurogel alone would not provide a solution for the treatment of paralysis.
This did not call into question the fundamental qualities of Neurogel as a growth matrix, but it forced us to conduct studies to combine Neurogel with factors that can induce a better regeneration, and this included stem cells. 
The turning point occurred in 2007, when we started funding studies going in that direction.
As soon as 2009, these funds went mainly to the work of Pr. Alfredo Gorio, in Milan. The professor managed to isolate and identify the key factors that stem cells must express to orient themselves, survive, colonize and reorganize an injured spinal cord environment.

Without going into complicated medical details, Pr. Gorio isolated and selected a certain type of stem cells from the adipose tissue (in short, the fat) through a machine that he developed. This unit carries out a specific biomechanical treatment that induced metabolic modifications.

It fundamentally changed the very character of these cells by inciting them through this process to produce powerful factors of survival and cellular protection, without using aggressive methods that might alter the DNA. The adipose tissue thus treated is called activated fat because of the presence of extremely high levels of immuno-suppressive, anti-inflammatory and cellular growth factors.

This long-term study was largely funded by our association, thanks to your gifts, your actions and your membership dues. The work on these adipose derived stem cells has now yielded results, making these fat derived stem cells:
- Resistant to lack of oxygen
- Resistant to the intrinsic factors of the spinal cord that prevent the regrowth of nerve fibers by immunosuppression
- Capable of surviving and moving to a lesion site
- Capable of differentiation into nerve cells, including oligodendrocytes that allow the sheathing of nerve fibers.

Very positive results have been obtained:

In a Parkinson’s disease rat model, Pr. Gorio’s stem cells suppressed neuro-inflammation in 48 hours and the symptoms of the disease disappeared in 5 days!

This activated fat has also been applied to a spinal cord lesion in a group of mice, after opening of the dura mater, as is customary in neurosurgery. After 3 weeks, the mice walked again, having recovered 80% of their functions.

Publications are ongoing.

This activated fat can be applied to an acute or chronic lesion, with or without Neurogel, depending on the type of lesion.

This activated fat is autologous, which means that it comes from the patients themselves, greatly simplifying the clinical authorization process.

Today, we must put all our energy and concentrate all our efforts toward reaching our goal: an effective treatment for all types of spinal cord damage.

I understand that for some it may seem like a very long process, but we simply cannot avoid the numerous constraints and legislation of biomedical research.

The Board of Administrators joins me to thank all those who are working and have worked toward the development of our project, and who have shown remarkable commitment to further our goal.

I also take this opportunity to invite you to renew your membership. Membership dues are still 20 Euros, online or by paper form.

Till next time.

Jean-Luc Gay

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From the President’s desk - July 2014

Dear member,
Serious family issues have taken me away from the Association...



... for several months, hence my delay in providing you with an update. We are pursuing our efforts towards a clinical trial.  

France:

We are now fully aware that we will not get any help from politicians, and that neither of the two main national organizations specialized in Spinal Cord Injury (The Brain & Spine Institute (ICM) & The French Institute for Spinal Cord Research ( IRME)) is prepared to support our project.  We met  with Pr. Djillali ANNANE, Counselor for Research and Medical Education to French Minister of Health, Mrs. Marysol Touraine.  This meeting was totally unproductive since we did not receive any feedback!

Fortunately, some French researchers or scientists are interested in our project:
-    The Timone Clinical Investigation Center, in Marseille and more precisely "Orphanet". to be continued.
-    Several biotech companies have asked me about Neurogel, and wish to offer their support; these leads are too recent for me to elaborate on them.

Overseas:

We continue to work with Pr. Gorio.  The professor's line of stem cells offers a more global approach to the treatment of lesions of the spinal cord.  Neurogel would/will no longer be an empty matrix but one to be harvested by immortal neural stem cells created and cloned from the patient's own adipose stem cells.   This would avoid all ethical controversies.  These cells are needed to prolong the regeneration process.


We could finalize the development of these cells combined with Neurogel in a clinical trial in China, Tunisia or Portugal with Dr. Reis, within a reasonable timeline and with good chances of success.   

We also met with Pr. Gregoire Courtine in his Geneva laboratory.  Pr. Courtine and Pr. Decherchi, after exchanging their results on their respective work, agreed that the solution will reside in a combination of multiple therapies including electro stimulation, hydrogel implant and stem cells.   Pr. Courtine wished to test Neurogel and wishes to collaborate with our association.   This is great news considering his great world reputation.

As you can see, we are actively involved in our project, building contacts and finding partners that make me think we could reach our objective in the course of 2014.  We are still busy seeking funding.  

The Board of Administrators and I would like to thank all those who have helped and are still working towards the completion of our project. Our
particular thanks to Mrs. Ple, Picot, Peyras, Rondio, Lecointre, Joineau, Bibal, and Decherchi (among others) for their unfailing commitment.

Finally, I would like to remind you that you can still renew your membership.   The dues remain set at 20 euros.

 Till next time,

Jl Gay

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From the President’s desk - August 2013

Dear member,
The latest pre-clinical trials conducted by Dr. Decherchi in Marseille once again confirmed the validity of Pr. Woerly’s work , and as such the significance of Neurogel...
His results demonstrate that « animals whose spinal cord had been filled with the hydrogel showed improvement in locomotor tests,…the axons damaged by the spinal lesion regenerated within the Neurogel implant… » (Synthesis of Dr. Decherchi’s article.)
We will now again contact the CICs of Garchesand Grenoble, the CIT of  Bordeaux, the various organizations in charge of disability, and politicians, regarding the project in France.  As I already wrote, combining the project with stem cells will not be easy in France, but we might be pleasantly surprised!
On July 1st, we met with press-relations agency Auvray & Associes, since we chose to work with press officers for a more credible and professional media coverage.
Auvray & Associes’ objective is TO MAKE THE MEDIA AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC AWARE OF NEUROGEL AND ITS POTENTIAL BENEFITS.
First, the Agency will target the largest audience possible by sending a press report to all radio and television media.  This will ensure Dr. Patrick Decherchi’s publication quickly reaches the news and gets the proper coverage.  Second, we will post a simplified version of this press report on our website for the general public.  A downloadable brochure (for businesses &/or sponsors) will also be available.
As you know, we hired the services of « Welcome Europe », an agency, specialized in finding European funds.   They provided us with a report stating that the Association may be eligible for two specific programs:
HORIZON 2020 societal challenges - health: The European programs for research support highlight the need to strengthen our fundamental understanding of the themes of health, disease, disability, development and ageing (including life expectancy), as well as a consistent and diffuse translation of the knowledge arising from these research activities in innovative, flexible and efficient product strategies, interventions and services,. The reality of these challenges throughout Europe and often around the world requires a reaction characterized by coordinated support and long-term cooperation between teams of excellence, multidisciplinary and multisectoral.
The aim of the program is to integrate European (and other) research in the field of neuroscience to improve prevention, early diagnosis and the treatment of diseases of the CNS central nervous system (neurological and psychiatric diseases.)
The 2012 call for translational proposals will encourage multinational and multidisciplinary research for methodological developments and innovative technologies to increase knowledge and therapeutic advances in neurological and psychiatric diseases.  For example, technological developments regarding methods of investigation such as imagery or the research of new targets for therapeutic development (pharmacology and drugs, cellular and genetic therapy, stem cells etc.) have a place in this program.
One of the paramount requirements is: “The projects must involve a minimum of three teams, from at least three different countries.”  We already fulfill that requirement! Our three teams of renowned scientists (from France, Italy and Portugal,), and our Canadian manufacturer, are ready to move to the clinical trial stage on humans.
Our objective is to combine Neurogel with autologous stem cells.
We MUST use Gorio’s stem cells for a more extensive approach in the treatment of lesions of the spinal cord. (see « Translational Research Strategies for the Treatment of Acute Spinal Cord Injury”) Neurogel would/will no longer be just an inactive matrix, but one that could be colonized by immortal neural stem cells, cloned after the patient’s adipose stem cells.  This would eliminate all ethical controversy.  Re-growth and differentiation are present in Neurogel alone, with synaptic profiles, but in chronic lesions, and depending on the nature of the lesion, the way to motor and sensory targets could be a long one.  We need these cells to provide an enduring process of regeneration.
We are therefore pursuing our application for European funding and are following up with our points of contact in France.
Today, in 2013, we have never been closer to achieving our goal! We need all of you to mobilize and be actively involved in our funding research.
We need volunteers to:
.  Actively use the social networks by providing a continuous flow of information
.  Communicate on the websites and blogs of associations supporting research for spinal cord injury (ex. ALARME)
.  Tell your friends and associates about the project ; talk to people in rehab centers to recruit members and volunteers.    .
. Look for patrons/sponsors by writing to companies
. Contact associations and foundations
. Organize lotto nights; send your friends and relatives reminders
. Write to your elected officials, regional or state representatives, your congressmen/women, your senators, the Minister of Health, the minister in charge of people with disabilities.  Let them know we want a therapy.
We will be glad to provide you with sample letters and help all those who wish to be involved. It is IMPORTANT that we convey the same message as our press officers’. Please be sure to check their presentation on the Association’s website.
Till next time,
Jean-Luc GAY
Anthony PLE
Tel : 04 76 71 52 61                 Tel : 04.74.79.84.69