SCI clinical trials – Australia

Cure-related SCI Clinical Trials Australia

Below are details of Australian based clinical trials which aim to restore function or feeling to people living with a spinal cord injury. At the request of our supporters we have also included clinical trials exploring treatments for neuropathic pain.

If you are a researcher and would like your trial listed here, please email [email protected]

eWalk (Project Spark)

WHAT: Neurostimulation
FOR: Standing/walking
WHO: Incomplete paralegics
WHERE: Sydney, Melbourne, Glasgow, Chicago, Toledo (Spain)
WHEN: Recruiting now

More info

Team lead: Profs Simon Gandevia and Jane Butler
Institution: Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)
Intervention: Transcutaneous (non-invasive) neurostimulation
Primary target: Standing/walking
Eligibility:

  • Incomplete paras
  • Can take a step with or without assistance but can’t walk >10m
  • Motor level T2–T11-1 year post injury

Duration: 12 weeks, 3 visits/week
Enrolling: now  Sydney & Melbourne
More info:  NeuRA SCIRC
Sydney and overseas sites: [email protected]
Melbourne: contact Prof Gavin Williams: [email protected] 

Register your interest

Get a Grip (Project Spark)

WHAT: Neurostimulation
FOR: Arms, hands and breathing
WHO: Quadriplegics
WHERE: Sydney, Perth
WHEN: May 2023

More info

Team lead: Profs Simon Gandevia and Jane Butler
Institution: Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)
Intervention: Transcutaneous (non-invasive) neurostimulation
Primary targets: Upper limb and respiratory function
Eligibility:

  • Quadriplegics both complete an incomplete
  • At least 1 year post injury

Duration: 6 weeks, 3 visits/week
Enrolling: Up to 96 volunteers. Enrolling now in Sydney. Perth, dates to be confirmed. 

The Get a Grip study is a Bayesian Optimised Phase II (BOP) trial comparing two kinds of biphasic neurostimulation. Volunteers will be treated at NeuRA in Randwick (Sydney), SCIA's NeuroMoves centres in Clyde and St Peters (Sydney), and Joondalup (Perth). Additional trial sites are likely in 2024.
More info:  [email protected]

Register for NeuRA research

TESCoN spinal stimulation

WHAT: Neurostimulation
FOR: Arm and hand function
WHO: Quadriplegics (tetraplegics)  – incomplete or complete
WHERE: Melbourne Vic.
WHEN: Recruiting now

More info

Team lead: Prof Mary Galea (in collaboration with Prof Reggie Edgerton
Institution: University of Melbourne and Austin Health
Intervention: Transcutaneous (non-invasive) neurostimulation
Primary target: Arm and hand function
Eligibility:

  • tetraplegia with motor function below C4 as a result of traumatic spinal cord injury
  • time since your injury is 3-6 months, or 12 months or more
  • aged between 15 and 75 years
  • no other neurological condition or injury 
  • no implanted device (e.g. pacemaker)
  • no previous tendon or nerve transfer surgery in the hand or arm

Duration: 4 weeks, 5 days/week
Enrolling: Now — Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre, Melbourne
More info:  Contact Dr Maya Panisset
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 0405 027 127

Full details - pdf

The RESTORE Trial

WHAT: Immersive virtual reality
FOR: Touch perception
WHO: Complete spinal cord injury
WHERE: Sydney
WHEN: Soon

More info

Team lead: Prof Sylvia Gustin
Institution: University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)
Intervention: Virtual reality haptic walking (VRHapticWalk)
Primary targets: Touch sensation
Eligibility:

  • Dis-complete SCI (This refers to the 50% of people clinically diagnosed with complete SCI who still have surviving spinal sensory nerve fibres).

Duration: 30 min treatments on 20 consecutive days
Enrolling: soon

Register your interest

The RRULI trial

WHAT: Neurostimulation and Acute Intermittent Hypoxia
FOR: Arms, hands and breathing
WHO: Quadriplegics
WHERE: Multiple centres inc Melbourne and Sydney
WHEN: 2024

More info

Team lead: Prof David Berlowitz
Institution: Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)
Intervention: Transcutaneous (non-invasive) neurostimulation, Acute Intermittent Hypoxia and Exercise therapy. 
Primary targets: Upper limb and respiratory function
Eligibility:

  • Incomplete quadriplegia
  • At least 1 year post injury

Duration: TBC
Enrolling: 2024
Number of volunteers needed: 96
More info:  [email protected]

Media summary: Exercise for people with longstanding spinal cord injury makes weak muscles stronger, but weakness returns when exercise training stops. We have early evidence that both electrical stimulation of the spinal cord through the skin, and breathing very short bursts of low oxygen levels, when added to exercise training, may produce longer lasting benefits. This trial will determine which combinations of these treatments shows the most promise.

Register for NeuRA research

eWalk 2 (Project Spark)

WHAT: Neurostimulation
FOR: Walking
WHO: Incomplete SCI
WHERE: Multiple trial sites. Details TBC
WHEN: 2024

More info

Team lead: Prof Jane Butler
Institution: Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)
Intervention: Transcutaneous (non-invasive) neurostimulation or sham stimulation
Primary target: Standing/walking
Eligibility:

  • Incomplete paraplegics and quadriplegics
  • At least 1 year post injury
  • other criteria to be confirmed

Duration: 12 weeks, 3 visits/week
Enrolling: 142 volunteers starting 2024
More info:  [email protected]

Register your interest

The SCAN Study

WHAT: Cannabidiol (CBD—cannabis extract)
FOR: Pain
WHO: Spinal cord injured with ongoing neuropathic pain
WHERE: NeuRA, Randwick Sydney
WHEN: Now

More info

Team lead: Prof Luke Henderson
Institution: Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)
Intervention: Cannabidiol (CBD—cannabis extract)
Primary targets: Pain
Eligibility:

  • Are over 18 years
  • Have a spinal cord injury
  • Do have ongoing neuropathic or nerve pain
  • Are willing to provide a small blood sample
  • Are willing to be exposed to brief painful stimulus
  • Are willing to attend the NeuRA facility to undergo an MRI and EEG

Enrolling: Now
To get involved, call 0439 804 551 or email [email protected]. Limited spaces are available for the study. 

More info and Register

VR Walk

WHAT: Immersive virtual reality
FOR: Pain
WHO: Lumbar paraplegic & quadriplegics C5–C7
WHERE: Home based.
WHEN: Recruiting now, UNSW Sydney

More info

Team lead: Prof Sylvia Gustin
Institution: University of NSW
Intervention: Virtual Reality walking game
Primary target: Pain
Eligibility:

  • Complete lumbar paraplegics and quadriplegics C5–C7

Where: At home
Duration: 10 mins, twice a day for 10-14 days. Plus 6 questionnaires that will each take between 20–40 mins to complete over approximately 12.5 months.
Enrolling: Now — Neuro Recovery Research Hub

Register your interest

Therapeutic AIH (WA)

WHAT: Acute Intermittent Hypoxia
FOR: Muscle strength, motoneuron firing
WHO: Incomplete SCI
WHERE: WA; Edith Cowan University (Joondalup)  and The University of Western Australia (Crawley)
WHEN: Now

More info

Team lead: Prof Janet Taylor, Dr Ricardo Mesquita
Institution: Edith Cowan University, The University of Western Australia, NeuRA
Intervention: Acute Intermittent Hypoxia
Primary target: Muscle strength, motoneuron firing
Eligibility:

  • 18-65 years old
  • Chronic incomplete SCI (injury happened over 1 year ago)
  • Muscle weakness but not complete paralysis
  • Have not been diagnosed with moderate/severe lung disorder, serious cardiovascular disease or other neurological or psychiatric illnesses

Duration: 2 visits of about 3.5 hours, plus at-home monitoring of oxygen levels during sleep
Enrolling: Now at Edith Cowan University (Joondalup) or The University of Western Australia (Crawley).
More info:  please contact: Ricardo Mesquita [email protected]

Full details – pdf