SpinalCure announces continued support for research which could help find a cure for spinal cord injury by helping us better predict outcomes

SpinalCure announces continued support for research which could help find a cure for spinal cord injury by helping us better predict outcomes

SpinalCure is pleased to announce our continued support over three years for research that is examining the inflammatory response and predicting outcomes of new spinal cord injuries — essential for progress towards a cure.

The research is led by Associate Professor Marc Ruitenberg, who said, “This inability to predict outcomes currently is a major problem in the field of SCI research, hampering our ability to demonstrate the effectiveness of new experimental treatments.”

“Addressing this, if successful, would not just help with assessing new treatments given in the very early stages of an SCI, but potentially also much older injuries.”

Marc Ruitenberg in his lab
A/Prof Marc Ruitenberg

In announcing the renewed funding, Kathryn Borkovic, SpinalCure’s CEO commented, “SpinalCure is proud to have supported Marc’s research since 2011, when he was an early career researcher. 

“Marc’s work is world-leading, with an anti-inflammatory drug trial recently completed for treatment of early injuries. 

“This fantastic progress demonstrates how investment in a promising researcher early on can reap benefits,” added Ms Borkovic

Dr Ruitenberg’s work will also help us better understand the ‘inflammatory phase’ of SCI , which is normally a crucial part of healing and injury recovery. However, in spinal cord injuries, it appears that there is excessive, non-resolving inflammation and scar tissue formation that hinders repair, and the reason why this happens isn’t well understood. 

“If we are to find a cure for SCI, we must address this knowledge gap, so we can make sure the inflammatory response helps to heal the spinal cord and doesn’t contribute to scarring and a failure to regenerate,” Ruitenberg said.

The funding will help support two components of Marc’s diagnostic research:

  • Imaging protocols for specialised MRI scans that will allow clinicians to visualise the impact of their work, to see how the nerves in the spinal cord are changing. This will help focus and assess improvement during rehabilitation.
  • Using biomarkers in blood samples to help work out what movement and/or level of recovery you’ll get. This will give an indication of the expected trajectory recovery, including how this is improved with IVIG therapy (experimental anti-inflammatory drug) or any other intervention.

SpinalCure thanks all our supporters and donors for helping to make this research happen. This support is bringing us closer to a cure and helping to fund this ground-breaking essential research.

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Further information about Associate Professor Ruitenberg’s work:

Clinical trial for acute spinal cord injuries

How rejuvenating the immune system supports brain repair after injury

From the University of Queensland:

more information about the anti-inflammatory trial