Currently Funded Project

Spinal Injury Project

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Spinal Injury Project  (SIP) 

Spinal Injury Project  (SIP)  is based at the Menzies Institute, Griffith University Gold Coast Campus, where plans are underway to start a human clinical trial in 2020.


This project involving the transplantation of the patients own olfactory ensheathing cells was pioneered by 2017 Australian of the Year, Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim.

For many years PCSRF has been supporting this ground-breaking research and more recently the foundation lobbied the Queensland Government to support this project, resulting in a $5M grant to SIP to fund the first three years of pre-clinical research. In May 2018, PCSRF committed $450,000 of further funding to support one component of the project – to clean up the injury site. The  human clinical trial is expected to cost in excess of $20M.

The  Spinal Injury Project (SIP) was pioneered by 2017 Australian of the Year Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim.

A world first Phase I clinical trial led by scientists at Griffith University, in 2002 demonstrated that the therapy is safe for use in humans. That trial led to a recent human trial by British/Polish researchers that demonstrated that restoration of function after severing of the human spinal cord is indeed possible. In this study, a mix of olfactory ensheathing cells and fibroblasts together with a nerve bridge were transplanted into the injured spinal cord. Within 6-12 months after transplantation, the patient, who had been paralysed for several years prior to the treatment, regained some motor function of his legs, bladder control, and sensation.

These exciting proof-of-principle results give hope that patients may regain function after spinal cord injury. What is now needed is to improve the transplantation therapy to make it more effective.

Due to funding to date on behalf of the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation and successful lobbying to attract the attention of a $5m grant from the QLD State Government, the team at Griffith University is planning to undertake a human clinical trial to progress this journey and show that this therapy can further regenerate patients’ sensory and motor function.

Clinical Trial:

The clinical trial will involve taking olfactory cells from the own patients nose, the cells will be purified, enhanced and implanted into the patient’s spinal cord, followed by intensive rehabilitation to promote nerve regeneration.

PCSRF is currently funding two research projects as part of the Spinal Injury Project. 

Download the Spinal Injury Project project outline
Find out the latest news on the Spinal Injury Project (SIP)

Find out the latest on the Spinal Injury Project (SIP)

Currently Funded Projects

  • Institution:Griffith University
  • Lead Researcher:Jenny Ekberg
  • PCSRF funding period:2018 – 2021
  • Total Funds Committed:$450,000
  • Institution:Griffith University
  • Lead Researcher:Matthew Barker
  • PCSRF funding period:2019
  • Total Funds Committed: $28,000

Clinical Trial Updates

Thankyou for your interest in the Olfactory Ensheathing Cell Transplantation to Repair Spinal Cord Injury Project (SIP)

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The Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation is currently raising funds and awareness to support this project being conducted at Griffith University, under the supervision of Assoc Professor James St John. This exciting research project was pioneered by the 2017 Australian of the Year Professor Alan Mackay-Sim. 

At this stage we are collecting details from people that are interested in taking part in the trials, however we are unsure of the timeline for recruitment or any inclusion criteria. 

In the meantime, you can help us generate urgent support and awareness for this ground-breaking project by following us on social media and helping to spread the word about the project. Every bit of awareness and support will help us reach our goal – a cure for paralysis for all!

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