Repairing a damaged spinal cord is one of the most complex challenges that medical science has ever faced. In the past 15 years, scientists have made major breakthroughs in understanding how to encourage damaged neurons to regenerate.
It is vital now to move as quickly as possible to test these potential treatments in human patients. This will take place in studies called Clinical Trials. No one can give an exact date when Clinical Trials will start for these reasons: First we must do all we can to ensure that potential treatments are as safe and effective as possible; Second, doctors also need to develop sensitive techniques to measure how much improvement (if any) a treatment makes. Spinal Cure Australia and its worldwide partners are doing vital work to ensure that everything will be in place when it is time to start clinical trials.
There are several approaches to finding a cure for SCI which include:
- Neuro Protection (Cell Damage)
- Growth inhibition (Damaged Axons)
- Synaptic function, maintenance and plasticity
- Axon Guiders (Nerve Recircuitory)
- Cellular replacement (Including Stem Cells)
In Australia Universities & Institutes investigating SCI include:
- Queensland Brain Institute: Adult stem cells & replacing lost motor neurons
- Melbourne University: Reviving ability of older cells to repair themselves
- Garvan Institute: Mechanisms of neural plasticity and repair
- Monash Institute: Embryonic & adult stem cell
- University of WA: Preventing cell death after nerve injury & axon regeneration
- PoWMRI, Sydney: Many projects including the study of Autonomic Hyperreflexia, Sympathetic Nerve Pathways below the lesion, Neural control post injury, spinal cord cysts (syrinx), muscle force, reflexes and electrical stimulation.
- Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD: Australia’s first human clinical trial – transplantation of olfactory nasal cells into SCI patients.