In case you haven’t heard, the first 2 research projects for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) have been awarded. One is an Epidural Stimulation Trial through a partnership between Hennepin County Medical Center and the University of Minnesota. The second is a combination study of Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells (OPCs) and Scar Ablation study in rodents through the University of Minnesota and longtime study supported by the Spinal Cord Society. Each was awarded $125,000 through the Office of Higher Education.
The first is very exciting because it will be trialed in a human cohort with chronic injuries this year!…starting with a few and hoping to expand to more individuals pending more grants. This project not unlike the ones you may have heard about seeks to stimulate movement through the implantation of a small device with electrodes placed over the spinal cord. This has been shown to be effective in several studies around the world to control some movements in the lower extremities and in some cases resulted in return of bowel/bladder/sexual function.
The second is a longtime project funded by the Spinal Cord Society whose lab has relocated to the University of Minnesota under the direction of Dr. Ann Parr.. This study hopes to show that the scar resulting from injury can be reduced in order for regeneration to occur using OPCs which have been studied to remyelinate damaged nerves. Their intent is to prove the strategy efficacious and then follow with a request for human trial.
Thanks to all of you for staying with us over the years, writing and calling legislators, offering your moral support and just being an ear. We are all very excited to watch this unfold as we try and do our part to expedite innovations for the treatment of paralysis from SCI.
If you want to read about a side benefit from this effort, read the previous blog post: Not Just About Money…or something like that.
Thanks again and check out GUSU's Press Release for more info.