The prospect of future breakthroughs in spinal cord injury treatment has been boosted with the joint announcement today of a new medical research Fellowship, according to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
Duncan Wallace, spokesman for Not-For-Profits SpinalCure Australia and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia said the David Prast Research Establishment Fellowship, valued at up to $450,000 over three years, will fund research into spinal cord injuries and aim to improve outcomes for the 12,000 Australians living with spinal cord injury.
“The Fellowship was established to commemorate the work of the late spinal injuries advocate Australian David Prast, who despite a spinal cord injury, used his drive and determination to focus on better initiatives in the spinal field, particularly in medical research, until his death in November 2011,” said Duncan Wallace.
“These are exciting times for spinal cord injury research – stimulating the spinal cord below the level of injury has shown remarkable success in rats and now thrilling results in four young men as reported recently in the medical journal Brain.
“The men, who have been paralysed for years, were able to move their legs voluntarily with the help of an implanted device that delivered an electrical current to the lower spinal cord, known as epidural stimulation.”
“So we expect that the successful candidate will be working with international leaders in the field with a view to bringing epidural stimulation and other technologies back to Australia.”
Applications for the Fellowship close on Monday 23rd June 2014.
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Background information –David Prast
An afternoon dip in a calm ocean at Perth’s Cottesloe Beach left him with tetraplegia with little movement from the neck down. In a freak moment, David, a charismatic and successful businessman, became trapped and desperate to get out of a wheelchair. Yet he used his drive and determination to become a major advocate for people with spinal injuries, focusing campaigning on the need for better initiatives, particularly in medical research, until his death in November 2011. David often said that the work he was doing was to benefit others, rather than himself.
David established the first state government Neurotrauma Research Program in Western Australia, which became the first of many achievements. He helped promote the potential importance of stem cell research. He pioneered a global campaign to cure paralysis (International Campaign to Cure Paralysis), which resulted in greater awareness and improved funding for this under-researched condition. David’s vision was to ensure that the latest scientific and medical developments from around the world were made available to people in Australia as soon as possible.
In accordance with his vision of gaining practical outcomes for people with a spinal cord injury, one of his most important accomplishments was the successful Walk On facility, now running nationally, to provide people with intensive exercise therapy after an accident.
FURTHER INFORMATION ON WALK ON:
FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE DAVID PRAST ESTABLISHMENT FELLOWSHIP:
FURTHER INFORMATION ON EPIDURAL RESEARCH:
FURTHER INFORMATION FOR PHYSICIANS:
CEO, SpinalCure Australia
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