In September 2019 the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation announced it will provide an additional $86,666 in funding to Griffith University’s Spinal Injury Project.
The funds are to support the development of a new generation of nerve bridges to repair the injured spinal cord. The Spinal Injury Project team has recently developed a new technology to produce nerve bridges which are made entirely from cells. These nerve bridges help promote repair of the injury site and allow nerve cells to grow across the injury site. The team has shown that the nerve bridges improve survival of the transplanted cells and lead to good regeneration of the nerve cells in animal models of spinal cord injury.
What is now needed is to improve the design of the nerve bridges so they suit a wider range of injury sites and to continue testing the nerve bridges to determine if they improve functional outcomes in animal models.
The project is led by Associate Professors James St John and Jenny Ekberg and forms part of the larger Spinal Injury Project that is optimising the use of cells taken from the nose – known as olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs).
This new funding from PCSRF supports two Research Fellows, Mr Mo Chen and Dr Tanja Eindorf – Mo is a bioengineer who is creating the nerve bridges and Tanja is a veterinary surgeon who will transplant the nerve bridges. Being able to create a wider range of nerve bridges will lead to better cell transplantation options for treating different types of spinal cord injury.
We recently spoke to Mo and Tanja about their work in the laboratory, you can read more here.