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Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 14;8(1):16809. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35011-4.

NTG-101: A Novel Molecular Therapy that Halts the Progression of Degenerative Disc Disease.

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Notogen Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Private Practice, Irvine, California, USA.
Notogen Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The tremendous cost, pain and disability associated with degenerative disc disease (DDD) makes the development of a biological agent that can mitigate the course of DDD, a critical unmet need. We have identified and reported that a single injection of a combination of recombinant human (rh) Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) and Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) proteins into the injured intervertebral disc (IVD) nucleus pulposus (NP) can mediate DDD in a pre-clinical rodent model. In this study, we developed and evaluated the efficacy of a novel molecular therapy (NTG-101) containing rhTGF-β1 and rhCTGF proteins suspended in an excipient solution using in vivo models of DDD including rat-tail and chondrodystrophic (CD) canines. Needle puncture injury in CD-canine NPs resulted in loss of hydration, disc height and showed radiographic evidence of DDD like humans. However, NTG-101-injected IVDs maintained disc height and demonstrated retention of viscoelastic properties as compared to IVDs injected with phosphate buffer saline (PBS, 1X, pH = 7.2). In addition, a single intra-discal injection of NTG-101 into the injured IVD-NPs resulted in sustained expression of healthy extra-cellular matrix (ECM) proteins (aggrecan, collagen 2A1) and reduced expression of inflammation associated proteins and molecules (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, MMP-13, Cox-2 and PGE2) as compared to vehicle controls. In conclusion, we demonstrated that a single intra-discal injection of the novel formulation, NTG-101 confers a robust anti-inflammatory, anti-catabolic and pro-anabolic effects in pre-clinical models of DDD thereby restoring homeostasis. These findings suggest the therapeutic potential of NTG-101 for clinical use.

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