Levine Receives DOD Grant to Aid with Spinal Cord Injuries
Posted July 28, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - The One Health
Initiative is represented again at the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). Dr. Jonathan
Levine, assistant professor in neurology at the CVM, and his team
were recently awarded a Department of Defense (DOD) grant worth
over $900,000 to develop non-invasive treatments and therapies for
spinal cord injuries (SCI) in dogs, with the hope of translating
results to humans with SCI.
Levine's study will focus on dogs with naturally occurring SCI
and will run from October 2011 until October 2014. Levine's prior
SCI research has focused on spinal cord imaging and biological
molecules associated with injury. With the help of this grant,
Levine and his team hope to produce findings that may be more
applicable to humans with SCI compared to traditional models, as
dogs have similar injuries to humans.
"Because these injuries happen naturally they are more diverse,"
explained Levine. "Affected dogs are out in the environment,
they're not all the same breed, the injuries don't happen the same
way. So the diversity probably gives a little advantage exploring
theories into the possible treatment of dogs and humans with
The DOD was particularly interested in Levine's research because
of the possible implications it may have on troops with SCI. Not
only is SCI in humans physically debilitating, it can be extremely
draining on the wallet. Described as the second most costly injury,
a person who has sustained a SCI at age twenty-five may incur
anywhere from $729,000 to $3.2 million in expenses over a
Along with CVM researchers, Dr. Sharon Kerwin, Dr. George Lees,
and Dr. Virginia Fajt, Levine will partner with two researchers at
the University of California, San Francisco: Dr. Linda J.
Noble-Haeusslin, professor with the department of neurological
surgery and the department of physical therapy and rehabilitation
science, and Dr. Tom Lue, professor and vice chair of urology.
"Noble and her team are leading researchers in traumatic brain
and spinal cord injuries," said Levine. "We are thrilled to have
their expertise in working on this project."
Clinical trials for this grant will be performed on young to
middle aged canines with canine thoracolumbar intervertebral disk
herniation (IVDH). IVDH is a spontaneous disease that is very
similar to acute SCI in humans. Dachshunds represent about half of
The grant comes at a good time for Levine and his team, as the
CVM will soon unveil the new Diagnostic Imaging and Cancer
Treatment Center (DICTC). The DICTC will feature a 3 Tesla MRI
which will help to advance Levine's research efforts through high
resolution diagnostic imaging. This state-of-the-art MRI will
produce these images much faster and the higher resolution images
will make it easier to identify problems on the spinal cord with
more precision than ever before.
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718
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