Sam David, McGill University Montréal, Montréal, Kanada

Role of ferroptosis in secondary damage

Funded in: 2020, 2021, 2022


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Problem: Spinal cord injury induces a tremendous iron overload
Target: Study the role of a novel form of iron-mediated tissue damage called ferroptosis
Goal: Inhibit ferroptosis and chelate iron with a drug therapy

One of the immediate consequences of spinal cord trauma is bleeding. Red blood cells are a rich source of iron. As a result, spinal cord injury (SCI) induces a tremendous iron overload in the injured tissue. Iron can produce highly toxic free radicals that cause additional damage and impair recovery. Despite much work, there are still no good strategies to control the damaging consequences of iron overload after SCI. This is largely due to a limited understanding of the mechanisms underlying such tissue damage as well as the lack of effective drugs. Recent developments in both these areas offers renewed hope. This grant is to study the role of a novel form of iron-mediated cell and tissue damage called ferroptosis in SCI using novel compounds to inhibit ferroptosis and chelate iron.  The study will also assess human SCI tissue, plasma and cerebrospinal fluid for signs of ferroptosis. This work could offer new hope for a small molecule drug therapy for SCI.