Project Spark

Project Spark could change the lives of people with spinal cord injury for good

For the first time in history, we have the opportunity to restore life-changing function to Australians with spinal cord injuries.

We’re seeking $46 million in Federal funding over five years to establish a nation-wide neurostimulation research and treatment program that could change the lives of Australians impacted by a spinal cord injury. 

Our petition is aimed at demonstrating nationwide support for this groundbreaking research. 

We also need you, the community, and philanthropists to pitch in to help us achieve this goal.

You could help transform the lives of people with spinal cord injuries.

Please sign and share the petition

Donate now

The need for Project Spark

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20,000+ Australians
live with a spinal cord injury

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$3.7 BILLION
per year
cost to the Australian economy

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ONE
injury
occurs every day

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NO CURE
or treatment
 currently available

What is Project Spark?

Project Spark is so-called because it could spark a revolution in spinal cord injury treatment.

We aim to get the evidence needed to make spinal cord neurostimulation a mainstream treatment for spinal cord injury (SCI). What this involves:

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CAPACITY
building
Expand the capacity of the SCI Research Centre at NeuRA to coordinate all trials and studies.

 

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CLINICAL
trials
Build on the eWalk trial and conduct additional gold-standard Randomised Controlled Trials at NeuRA.

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IN-HOME
study
Conducted in three states around Australia.

 

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3 COMMUNITY
studies
Through Spinal Cord Injuries Australia's 11 NeuroMoves centres across Australia.

🎯 GOAL—Translation
Provide the evidence to support approval of the treatment by the TGA for mainstream use.

"I can tell you from personal experience, the effects are devastating, and not just for the person injured, but for their loved ones as well.

After an injury, the mental and physical health challenges are completely overwhelming."

Sam Bloom

NEUROSTIMULATION—How does it work

Non-invasive spinal cord neurostimulation, or transcutaneous spinal stimulation, is like a hearing aid for the spinal cord.

The idea is that tailored electrical currents can amplify messages sent via surviving neural pathways, so the brain and body can talk to each other better.

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Electrical currents applied to the injured spinal cord.

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Restores communication between brain and body.

Person

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This can result in life-changing functional recovery such as:

  • Bladder and bowel control
  • Hand movement
  • Cardiovascular stability
  • Walking years after the initial injury.
Physiotherapists work with participant in eWalk trial
Sam Bloom at NeuRA
eWalk trial participant on treadmill with two physiotherapists and researcher, with their wheelchair in the foreground

The potential IMPACT 

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BENEFIT
the economy

Save at least
$3.5b-$10b

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ESTABLISH
Australia

as a world-leader

in SCI research

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REDUCE
demand

on hospitals and care needs

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INCREASE
workforce

participation

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TRANSFORM
the lives of Australians
with spinal cord injuries and their familes

Project Spark could transform the lives of Chloe, Alex, Dean and the more than 20,000 Australians living with a spinal injury

Chloe in wheelchair with her two year old daughter

Chloe: "Not having all the pain and discomfort that comes along with a spinal cord injury would be life-changing....Funding for research is imperative. Nothing can go ahead without it."

Alex Richter at Collaroy

Alex: “Morning care is the biggest thing for me. Having to have carers come in every morning to toilet and shower me and get me up is the hardest thing, and something no one really sees or knows about.”

Dean Martelozzo in wheelchair smiling

Dean: “My injury affects me more than I’d ever imagined....Whilst I’d love to get back to life as I knew it and forget the injury ever happened, it would be great for small steps to be made that eliminate some of the hassles." 

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