August Research Update

It has been a busy start to the year for the Spinal Injury Project Team!

Cleaning Up the Injury Site Project

This project, funded by the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation, led by Associate Professor Jenny Ekberg is analysing how cells isolated from the nose – known as olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) – can clean up the ‘debris’ and bacteria that surrounds them. This ‘cleaning’ function of the cells is important as it allows scientists the ability to clean up the ‘site’ around the injured spinal cord, and then repair it.

The team is currently working on an innovative drug solution to improve this ‘cleaning’ process by creating an easier, more rapid migration and function after transplantation.

Rehabilitation Trials

We are pleased to be able to report our first Intensive Rehabilitation Trial is complete with analysis of the findings underway.

This Trial examined whether long-term intensive activity-based rehabilitation therapy can be effectively delivered to people living with spinal cord injuries in Australia and whether it improves overall health, social outcomes and functional recovery. This is an important trial that will improve the quality of life for people living with a chronic spinal cord injury and it will also change the way rehabilitation is administered in Australia.

We hope to be able to report some exciting results at the end of the year.

The Spinal Injury Project Research Team is now working on the second Intensive Rehabilitation Trial for the next five participants and has recently submitted the ethics application. This trial will focus on participants who have had minimal rehabilitation is the last two years. Stay tuned for an announcement about recruitment in the coming months.

Cell Transplantation and Rehabilitation Human Clinical Trial

Our ultimate goal is to conduct the first Cell Transplantation and Rehabilitation Human Clinical Trial in the world to get people with paralysis moving and feeling again!

As a crucial next step, we first need to design and scope this trial as it will enable the cost of the trial to be determined. This process is currently underway, managed by Griffith University in consultation with an independent Contract research Organisation.

With the design, costings and associated protocol documentation, we can then apply to various stakeholders to fund the proposed full cell transplantation and rehabilitation clinical trial at the appropriate time.

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