For many years scientists have known that the lamprey fish can spontaneously recover from a spinal cord injury but the reason behind this was unknown. Now scientists have uncovered that many of the genes involved in the repair of the injured spinal cord in the lamprey fish are also active in the repair of the peripheral nervous system in humans.
This study aims to investigate the effects of spinal cord epidural stimulation as an alternative approach to improve bladder, bowel and sexual function after SCI. Spinal cord epidural stimulation, along with activity-based training, may help provide an appropriate level of excitation to the spinal cord, targeting the neural circuitry involved in urogenital and bowel function.
In a study led by Dr. Shulamit Levenberg, researchers implanted human stem cells into rats with a complete spinal cord injury. Three weeks after the introduction of the stem cells, the rats showed significant improvements in mobility and sensory perception as well as spinal cord injury healing.
Scientists at the University of Guelph in Canada have discovered that the Gecko tail—which also includes part of its spinal cord—contains a specific type of stem cell that rapidly proliferates and churns out proteins in response to injury. These proteins generate a new spinal cord. This discovery could help heal spinal cord injuries in humans.
Andrew Meas who had a complete C6/7 spinal cord injury has regained the ability to INDEPENDENTLY stand up and move his legs without the aid of an electrical stimulator!
Over the last few years, Electrical stimulation to restore motor function in paralysis patients has been showing astounding results.
Andrew Meas is one of the first four people treated with an implanted stimulator by Professor Reggie Edgerton and Professor Susan Harkema. As Reggie said “(this) technology is equivalent to the Model T Ford. I know we can do better”. Through Project Edge, he and Professor Vissel from the University of Technology Sydney plan to do just that.
In a new study, researchers claim that modified silk from Asian wild silkworms is “well suited” to helping fix spinal cord trauma. The researchers suggest that modified silk could be a used as a ‘scaffold’ that bridges the spinal injury cavity, supporting nerve growth across the damaged region.
Stem cells provide great hope for damaged spinal cords and brain injury- but it has not been clear on how the immune system may affect the regrowth. This new study aims to shed some light on how stem cells and the immune system interact in the repair of the spinal cord. This study suggests that whether or not the immune system hinders or helps transplanted stem cells to regrow lost tissue may be influenced by the presence of certain kinds of immune cells.
New research on interventions for spinal cord injury is emerging at a rapid pace. From studies on neuroprotective approaches to novel biologics, these discoveries are anticipated to translate into breakthroughs in this field over the next 5 to 10 years.
L to R: Prof Bryce Vissel, Duncan Wallace, Prof William Purcell, Liz Hardy, Joanna Knott, Prof Attila Brungs. (Photos: Kevin Cheung, UTS)
SCA makes $1 million donation to UTS Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine for Project Edge
With thanks to our many supporter, donors, partners and friends, we are pleased to announce that we were recently able to make the single largest donation to SCI research in the organisation’s 23 year history.
Earlier this month, members of the Executive from SpinalCure Australia, University of Technology Sydney and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia gathered together at UTS for an exciting and much anticipated occasion – the signing of the fellowship agreements for the David Prast Fellowships for spinal cord injury research and the official presentation of a $1 million donation in support of the Project Edge neurostimulation collaboration.
The Fellowships, named for the late Mr David Prast, a revered director of both Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and SpinalCure Australia and long-time advocate for spinal cord injury research, will allow recruitment of top-level scientists for two exciting new research streams at the UTS Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM), directed by Professor Bryce Vissel.
The Project Edge neurostimulation collaboration with Professor Edgerton of UCLA/Caltech is expected to commence late 2017/early 2018, and the Stem Cells for SCI research stream is planned to commence at the Centre in 2018.
This important achievement represents a significant amount of hard work on behalf of all organisations involved and reflects the strong and enduring partnership that has formed among them, as well as their shared commitment to advancing medical research that will improve the lives of people with spinal cord injury.
SCA and SCIA have each committed a total of $500,000 over five years for the two Fellowships. The amount is generously being matched by UTS for a total of $1,000,000.
In recognition and celebration of this wonderful progress, SpinalCure Australia also made its first major donation to the CNRM in support of Project Edge.
The $1 million donation represents the single largest donation in our organisation’s history and we are both extremely proud of this milestone and very grateful to our partners, donors and supporters for allowing us to achieve this. The donation has been made possible by the generous and forward thinking support of the Neilson Foundation which recently committed $3million over 5 years to SpinalCure and Project Edge,
SpinalCure CEO Duncan Wallace remarked of the occasion “Today we reached an extraordinary milestone. These initial funds and the two Fellowships are the start of what will be the southern hemisphere’s largest integrated effort to cure paralysis. It brings with it the realistic hope of some recovery to Australians living with spinal cord injury.”
In further exciting news, Professor Reggie Edgerton signed his own set of contractual documents, officially making him a Distinguished Professor at the UTS Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine. Prof Edgerton will continue to hold his Distinguished Professorships at UCLA, while simultaneously working with Professor Vissel and the CNRM team to establish and develop a leading neurostimulation program here in Australia.
We are very encouraged by the progress made to date and look forward to updating our valued partners, donors and supporters on the work as it unfolds.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation towards this vital research today – Your donation will directly help to progress this ground-breaking, life-changing project.
You’ll be helping people to regain independence and quality of life in ways not before possible.
Most importantly you’ll be helping to keep hope alive.
Six AIS-A quadriplegic volunteers received 10 million AST-OPC1 cells in Asterias Biotherapeutics SCIstar trial. For the five patients who have completed at least 6 months of follow-up all have seen improvements in their motor function,