Electrical stimulation research to launch in Australia

Prof Reggie Edgerton

SpinalCure is thrilled to announce that world-renowned neuroscientist, Professor Reggie Edgerton, will be helping to establish a ground-breaking neurostimulation initiative for people with spinal cord injury, right here in Australia.

The neurostimulation project will sit within the newly formed Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, which will be headed by SpinalCure Fellow and UTS Professor of Neuroscience, Prof. Bryce Vissel. The project is expected to commence in the second half of 2018 and is a collaborative effort between UTS, Professor Edgerton, SpinalCure Australia and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia.

Neurostimulation will form the flagship research stream of a world-leading spinal cord injury recovery program within the Centre. Over coming years, the Australian team will work closely with Prof Edgerton and his colleagues at UCLA, with the aim of further developing treatments which offer life-changing levels of recovery for people with spinal cord injuries. This collaboration is anticipated to have six or more exciting, new research streams added over coming years.

We envision that fully established and funded, this will be the largest, most comprehensive effort to cure spinal cord injury in the Southern Hemisphere, leading the world to unprecedented levels of recovery for people with spinal cord injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is neurostimulation?

    Neurostimulation is the process of using gentle electrical currents to stimulate the spinal cord below the point of injury, enabling nerve circuits in the spinal cord to ‘hear’ and act upon messages coming from the brain.

    Neurostimulation is a quantum leap forward in spinal cord injury research and has proven to be able to return unprecedented levels of feeling and function to people suffering from paralysis as a result of a chronic injury.

    Excitingly, movement is just part of the picture. Neurostimulation is also proving to have a very positive effect on bladder and bowel control, cardiovascular function, autonomic control (blood pressure, temperature etc.) and sexual function.

    Learn more about the research

    Read journal publications

  • What is the Neurostimulation initiative?

    It is a ground-breaking collaboration between the University of Technology Sydney, Professor Reggie Edgerton, SpinalCure Australia and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia to establish the first clinical trial for neurostimulation research outside of the United States.

    The project is initially planned for a five-year duration, during which we aim to develop a technology and treatment protocol package that can then be rolled out across rehabilitation centres across the country, benefiting the many thousands of Australians suffering from spinal cord injury who currently have no other such promising treatments available.

    Initial experiments will focus on using transcutaneous (through the skin) stimulation to recover upper limb function and mobility in patients with quadriplegia. Early results in this area are promising and our researchers here in Australia will be able to build upon these early successes.

  • What are the Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine and the spinal cord injury recovery program?

    The Centre is the new collaborative-research hub at UTS, headed by SpinalCure Fellow Prof Bryce Vissel, that will focus on neurotrauma and neurodegenerative disease research. The spinal cord injury recovery program sits within this Centre and comprises the Neurostimulation initiative and several other SCI research projects.

    We envision that with enough funding secured, the spinal cord injury recovery program at UTS will be the largest and most comprehensive effort to cure spinal cord injury in Asia Pacific and the Southern Hemisphere, the ultimate goal being to lead the world to unprecedented levels of recovery for people with spinal cord injury.

    About UTS Professor of Neuroscience Bryce Vissel

    Prof Vissel will lead the University’s newly established Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine. Before joining UTS he led research for brain and spinal cord repair at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and prior to that was based at the Salk Institute in the USA. Professor Vissel is a SpinalCure Fellow, regular media commentator on health matters, an advisor to government and patient advocacy groups, and has gained international recognition, receiving a number of awards including the prestigious Fulbright award, a Liebermann award and a BIOFIRST award.

  • Who is Professor Edgerton?

    Professor Reggie Edgerton is a distinguished professor across four departments at the University of California Los Angeles, as well as the Director of the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory there.

    Professor Edgerton has spent 40 years researching spinal cord injury recovery, leading to these unprecedented breakthroughs and we are extremely fortunate to have Prof Edgerton coming to work with us in Australia to continue this vital work.

    Read more about his research journey in this fascinating 2016 Boston Globe article – ‘One scientist’s dogged quest to fix broken spinal cords pays off…’

    Discover more about his work at the UCLA Edgerton lab

  • How can I register to participate in the trials?

    By subscribing to our Neurostimulation Project eNews using the form (side or below) you will receive regular updates on how and when the scientists involved will be recruiting trial participants.

    SpinalCure Australia and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia have no ability to influence whom is selected for participation in the trial. We can however endeavour to keep you informed on how you can ensure that your own information, or that of your loved one is available for consideration when selection time arrives.

    Note: It is important to register for this list even if you are already a SpinalCure email subscriber (you will not receive duplicate emails). 

  • When is the first clinical trial starting?

    We expect that work will commence in the second quarter of 2017.

  • How can I help?

    We’re so pleased you asked! Your support is vital in ensuring this vision can be realised and help delivered to those who suffer most.

    Donations and regular giving are always most welcome. As are the many other ways to support this vital work including fund-raising, skilled volunteering, in-kind contributions and more.

    Your support is invaluable to the success of the program, call or email us today to learn about the impact your contribution will have, or to find out how we can help you in your fundraising efforts.

    Kate Retallack
    Executive Officer – Marketing | Partnerships | PR
    [email protected]
    0478 045 406

For more information please visit Project Edge

Find out more and hear from Prof Edgerton

View the special UTSpeaks event

More info at Project Edge

Please consider making a donation to help realise this life-changing vision

Stay up-to-date with this initiative

Find out more, inquire about becoming a partner or supporter, or make a media inquiry:
Duncan Wallace
Chief Executive Officer
[email protected]
0459 359 180
Kate Retallack
Executive Officer – Marketing | Partnerships | PR
[email protected]
0478 045 406