Leveraging biomedical informatics for assessing plasticity and repair in primate spinal cord injury.
Nielson JL, Haefeli J, Salegio EA, Liu AW, Guandique CF, Stück ED, Hawbecker S, Moseanko R, Strand SC, Zdunowski S, Brock JH, Roy RR, Rosenzweig ES, Nout-Lomas YS, Courtine G, Havton LA, Steward O, Reggie Edgerton V, Tuszynski MH, Beattie MS, Bresnahan JC, Ferguson AR
Recent preclinical advances highlight the therapeutic potential of treatments aimed at boosting regeneration and plasticity of spinal circuitry damaged by spinal cord injury (SCI). With several promising candidates being considered for translation into clinical trials, the SCI community has called for a non-human primate model as a crucial validation step to test efficacy and validity of these therapies prior to human testing. The present paper reviews the previous and ongoing efforts of the California Spinal Cord Consortium (CSCC), a multidisciplinary team of experts from 5 University of California medical and research centers, to develop this crucial translational SCI model. We focus on the growing volumes of high resolution data collected by the CSCC, and our efforts to develop a biomedical informatics framework aimed at leveraging multidimensional data to monitor plasticity and repair targeting recovery of hand and arm function. Although the main focus of many researchers is the restoration of voluntary motor control, we also describe our ongoing efforts to add assessments of sensory function, including pain, vital signs during surgery, and recovery of bladder and bowel function. By pooling our multidimensional data resources and building a unified database infrastructure for this clinically relevant translational model of SCI, we are now in a unique position to test promising therapeutic strategies' efficacy on the entire syndrome of SCI. We review analyses highlighting the intersection between motor, sensory, autonomic and pathological contributions to the overall restoration of function. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Spinal cord injury.