NSW to invest $15 million is spinal cord injury research

NSW to invest $15 million is spinal cord injury research

$15 million to get us closer to the cure

We are delighted to share that the NSW Treasurer the Hon Dominic Perrottet MP plans to announce a $15 million investment into spinal cord injury research in Tuesday’s budget.

SpinalCure was given the opportunity to present the case for State Government support, and after careful consultation with the SCI community – including people with SCI, patient advocacy and service groups, clinicians, researchers and our expert panel of scientific advisors – we submitted a considered proposal to the Government imploring urgent investment in research to improve patient outcomes and help move us closer to the cure.

We are elated that Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Hon. Brad Hazzard MP and the Hon Dominic Perrottet MP have heard our plea and grateful for the State Government’s recognition of the importance of directing funding into research that will help to improve the lives of so many people both here in Australia and around the world.

“When it comes to spinal cord injury research, scientists now believe it is no longer a matter of if, but when, there will be a cure. This investment by the NSW Government is a potential ‘game-changer’ in our world as it coincides with exciting research breakthroughs,” said SpinalCure CEO Duncan Wallace. 

“There are exciting developments happening globally and we want to ensure that Australians can benefit as soon as possible from breakthrough research. This research field is undergoing huge transformation and this investment enables NSW to take a leading role in advancing the therapies that are changing the outlook of those with spinal injuries,” Duncan Wallace added.

For SpinalCure Ambassador Sam Bloom, the announcement could not come quickly enough.

“This means so much to everyone with a spinal cord injury living in NSW. It is great the Government finally recognises and values quality of life for people like me who live with an injury. We constantly live in hope for a cure and now thanks to the Government’s generous support, we are closer then ever”.

Since her injury in 2013, Sam has fought hard to stay fit and healthy, so when the time comes for a trial or treatment that may help, she’s more than ready. Sam has also lent her voice, her story and her growing public profile to the fight for the cure, in the hope that some day soon there will be viable treatments available for everyone.

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SpinalCure Ambassador Sam Bloom sees eye to eye with son Noah for the first time in 5 years.
Sam Bloom sees eye to eye with son Noah for the first time in 5 years.

Sam’s ultimate dream is to walk again and thanks to recent research breakthroughs around the world, we may not be as far off as was once believed.

This year, scientists achieved what many always believed impossible – getting people up and walking again post-injury, a milestone that provided much needed hope to people like Sam, the world over. And for people living with paralysis, hope is vital.

Unlike those suffering from many other conditions, people with a spinal cord injury can’t rely on surgery, a pill or a lifestyle change to cure us. Investing in research is our only hope,” –  Joanna Knott, Co-founder and Chair of SpinalCure.

Sadly, every day another person in Australia suffers a spinal cord injury, adding to the 15,000 people nationally and millions globally.

Injuries frequently involve young people (16 to 25 year-olds) who, until recently, faced the rest of their lives in a wheelchair. But emerging treatments – such as controlling the body’s inflammatory response after the injury; electrical stimulation to the spinal cord (known as neurostimulation) and biomaterials coupled with stem cell treatments – may end that life sentence.

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spinal cord injury treatment neurostimulation
Treatments like neurostimulation are showing unprecedented results in returning feeling and function after spinal cord injury

Better patient outcomes can also mean a positive impact on the Australian economy, helping to reduce the estimated $2.5-3 billion in direct care and economic costs, a large percentage of which is borne by NSW.

For Australians like Joanna Knott and Sam Bloom who live with a spinal cord injury, $15 million dollars is a terrific place to start.

Developing and disseminating treatments like neurostimulation however takes an enormous amount of collaboration, commitment and investment, and so we’re hopeful that this will in turn encourage and attract the additional funding and momentum needed to get us to the cure.

With enough support, we hope to finally start getting people in NSW up and out of their wheelchairs again in the not too distant future. The NSW Government has shown us today that they share this vision and for that we are incredibly grateful.

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