News

The Spine Tingling Ride

Spine Tingling RideFrom Canberra to Humpty Doo by bike – a Spine Tingling Ride to help others

In March of this year, Andrew Kerec will take on the punishing, self-titled and self-designed ‘Spine Tingling Ride’ – a 5,450 km solo journey across Australia by mountain bike to raise funds and awareness for Project Edge and other life-changing not-for-profits and initiatives including Hartley Life Care and Livable Housing Australia.

The ride connects two places near and dear to the hearts of the Kerec family.

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Second annual Lloyd’s Australia Golf Day an inspiring success

With a capacity crowd playing in the 2016 tournament, a great day was enjoyed by all with a putting competition to kick off the event, and another narrow miss on the $20,000 hole-in-one prize generously contributed by sponsor Beazley.

A morning on the greens at Avondale was wrapped up with a fabulous lunch in the club-house followed by prize presentations (with the team from Guy Carpenter victorious on the day), an auction and raffle prize draw.

The winning team from Guy Carpenter

Proceeds from the event have generously been donated to SpinalCure to fund vital medical research into curing paralysis. Having launched Project Edge this year, much of this funding will be directed to helping establish this cutting-edge research initiative at the Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at UTS.

SpinalCure is honoured to be the standing beneficiary of the event and is very grateful to our partners at Lloyd’s, along with major sponsors XL Catlin, SURA, Steadfast Underwriting Agencies, Beazley, JLT Re and Argenta.

We would also like to thank the many generous prize donors including Blackmores, Marcus and Caroline Blackmore, Pacific Boating & NM Insurance, Gai Waterhouse Racing, The Charity Challenge, Chris & Tina Mackinnon, North Lodge Cottages, Channel 10’s Sandra Sully, Gilchrist Connell, JB Hi-Fi, Suzie White, Beazley, SURA, and Glamazon. As well as many thanks to Matt Laverty, Smokey Dawson and their team for putting on such a fantastic day.

Finally, a big Thank you to Avondale Golf Club for hosting the event and for their generous and spontaneous donation of two rounds of golf on their award-winning course!

SpinalCure CEO Duncan Wallace accepting a sizeable cheque from Lloyd’s Australia Regional Manager Chris MacKinnon

In all, an incredible $30,453 was raised at the event with 100% of those proceeds donated to support spinal cord injury research.

Do you have a great idea for a corporate fundraiser in support of SpinalCure or Project Edge? We would love to support you in this.

Get in touch today to discuss how your organisation can make an impact – contact Kate Retallack, EO Marketing and Partnerships by emailing [email protected] or by calling 0478 045 406. 

Queensland researchers are launching a world-first clinical trial aimed at improving recovery from spinal cord injuries.

In the study, led by The University of Queensland and The Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital, a new anti-inflammatory drug will be given to participants within hours of spinal trauma in an effort to minimise tissue damage.

Dr Marc Ruitenberg from the UQ School of Biomedical Sciences said when the spinal cord is injured, it becomes inflamed and this causes a lot of additional damage.

Dr Mark Ruitenberg
Dr Mark Ruitenberg PhD

“Up until now, doctors had no real treatment options to deal with this problem,” Dr Ruitenberg said.

“What we discovered in our animal studies is intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy can reduce this harmful inflammation and, excitingly, significantly improve the recovery from serious spinal cord injuries.”

Spinal surgeon Dr Kate Campbell, who is heading up the trial with Dr Ruitenberg, said one of the great benefits of IVIg is that it is quite safe and already used in the hospital for other conditions.

“As a result, we have been able to quickly progress this treatment from the lab to the clinic,” she said.

The trial will run for three years and will aim to recruit 20 participants through the PA Hospital, which is Queensland’s primary centre for spinal injury care.

Queensland Health estimates that 90 people sustain spinal cord injuries in the state each year.

“Sadly, the summer holidays can be a busy time for spinal wards,” Dr Campbell said.

“It’s a time when people are travelling, heading to the beach and spending time outdoors, and unfortunately it’s a time when accidents occur.

“We hope this research will help the recovery of those who suffer these serious injuries.

“It can happen to anyone and we therefore urge people to be careful.”

Dr Ruitenberg’s pre-clinical work received funding support from the Wings for Life Foundation and SpinalCure Australia, while CSL Behring has provided IVIg and funding for the clinical trial.

Dr Andrea Douglas, Vice President R&D Strategy and External Affairs at CSL, said the use of intravenous immunoglobulin in this setting is a novel application for one of CSL’s flagship therapies.

“Spinal injuries are devastating, and with few options available to effectively treat the inflammation that occurs, we are very pleased that Dr Ruitenberg’s team are getting closer to finding a solution.”

Media: Dr Marc Ruitenberg, [email protected], 07 3346 7602; Kim Lyell, [email protected], 07 33465214, 0427 530647.

Experimental implant shows promise for restoring voluntary movement after spinal cord injury

UCLA scientists test electrical stimulation that bypasses injury; technique boosts patient’s finger control, grip strength up to 300 percent

Elaine Schmidt for UCLA Newsroom | 

spinal stimulator being tested by doctors at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is showing promise in restoring hand strength and movement to a California man who broke his neck in a dirt bike accident five years ago.

In June, Brian Gomez, now 28, became one of the first people in the world to undergo surgery for the experimental device.

UCLA scientists inserted the 32-electrode stimulator below the site of Gomez’s spinal cord injury, near the C-5 vertebrae in the middle of his neck. That’s the area most commonly associated with quadriplegia, the loss of function and feeling in all four limbs.

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Major support from the Neilson Foundation


Neilson Foundation SpinalCure is delighted to announce a major, five-year donation from the Neilson Foundation in support of spinal cord injury research. The donation will be a major boost in establishing ‘Project Edge’.

Project Edge, launched in September this year, will see the introduction of a five-year, clinical research program in neuromodulation.

Likened to using gentle currents of electricity to ‘wake-up’ the spinal cord, neuromodulation is showing remarkable results in returning life-changing feeling and function to those with spinal cord injury – including unassisted standing, assisted walking, regaining of bladder and bowel control, improved sexual, autonomic and cardiovascular function and most recently, the return of some hand function in patients with quadriplegia.

The Neilson Foundation has generously donated $1 million, and pledged a further $2 million over four-years to SpinalCure to assist us in furthering this vital research.

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