Reproducible infusions into the Wisconsin Miniature Swine™ spinal cord: A platform for development of therapy delivery devices
Medical Research and Innovations
Spinal cord injury (SCI) and associated neuropathic pain are among the most complex medical conditions to treat and thus therapies that are consistently effective across patient populations do not exist. The development of more effective therapies is hampered by the animal models widely used in SCI research. Currently, spinal cord research to advance the discovery and development of novel therapies primarily relies on rodent models that pose significant translational limitations due to
... es in size and physiology to humans. Swine, in contrast, compare more favorably to humans with respect to spine and spinal cord anatomy and vasculature, injury-induced immune response, and functional assessments of pain. Additionally, specific breeds of swine such as the Wisconsin Miniature Swine™ (WMS™) possess thoracic spine that is more similar to the human spine in terms of length, vertebral body size, and overall shape, when compared to a conventional breed of swine. In the current pilot study, we examine the ex vivo distribution of infusate in the WMS™ spinal cord to demonstrate the reproducibility of infusions and thus the suitability of WMS™ for the development of novel SCI therapy delivery platforms such as convection enhanced delivery. Infusions of bromophenol blue dye were performed in 3 cadaver spines through the superior intervertebral space via a needle at 4 locations (C6, T2, T10 and L2). Thirty minutes later a laminectomy was performed to remove the spinal cord and measure the distance travelled by dye. Spinal cord location of the dye injection had a significant (P < 0.005) effect on the diffusion distance of the dye. The reproducibility of infusion data allowed for determination of differences even when using a small number of spines. This pilot study indicates the feasibility of using WMS™ as a platform for developing delivery devices.