Three spinal injured people able to walk with support in new Swiss study

Three spinal injured people able to walk with support in new Swiss study

Another spinal cord electrical stimulation study has resulted in three people with complete spinal cord injuries (SCI) walking while supported. This Swiss study has further cemented neurostimulation as the most promising research avenue for SCI recovery.
SpinalCure is set to expand neurostimulation research in Australia, building on our eWalk trial.
The Swiss study differs from previous epidural neurostimulation studies that have restored walking ability in that the leg movements are triggered and controlled by the implanted stimulator. The previous studies have used the stimulation to reconnect brain and body through surviving spinal cord pathways, so the walking instructions come from the patient, not the stimulator.
The study is another exciting step forward in spinal cord neurostimulation research, which focussed on people with complete injuries. Watch the video below to find out more.

Here in Australia, we’re already testing and developing neurostimulation treatments with our partner, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), in the eWalk trial. Instead of implants, we’re applying the stimulation to the spinal cord via pads over the skin. This is safer and far less expensive than implants, and can be more easily made available to anyone who needs it.

“Evidence from early studies shows this ‘transcutaneous’ or over the skin method can return movement, but also all the other things that make life with a SCI so awful such as bladder and bowel control, temperature control and blood pressure stability,” said Duncan Wallace, Executive Director at SpinalCure.

“Our gold standard clinical trial, eWalk, aims to get the evidence needed to get this treatment approved so spinal injured people can use it,” he added.

Also, while other studies have shown success, the SpinalCure-initiated trial, run by Australia’s pre-eminent neuroscience institute, NeuRA, is of the right standard to get the evidence needed for approval if successful. The Catwalk Trust has also helped to fund the study.

“We need to test this promising treatment on more types of injuries and functions. That’s why we’re calling on the Federal Government to help fund and fast track this research so we can get it out into the community within the next five years.”

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Find out about our plans to expand trials and studies across Australia with Project Spark

Read the research paper in the Journal Nature

The New Scientist: