Spinal cord research gets boost in funding

Published: June 16, 2010  |  Source: responsesource.com
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Stem cell research that could offer hope to spinal cord injury victims has received a massive boost in Canada, with a C$2.3million grant allowing scientists to explore how stem cells could help to repair damaged nerves. The money will provide vital pre-clinical testing facilities to the Hotchkiss Brain Institute in Calgary. The research is of international importance and, if successful, could mean a huge advance in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

Current research proving positive

The institute has recently carried out tests on rodents that have enabled the scientists to find ways of repairing and redirecting damaged nerves so that they are able to function in the same way prior to the onset of the damage. The funding will allow the team to continue their work as well as develop practical, marketable applications for their discoveries. The institute also believes that the additional funding will allow them to draw in some of the top scientists in the field to work on the project and combine the best intellectual resources to push the work forward.

“This is great news for victims suffering from spinal cord injuries,” comments Paul Breen of specialist claims experts Serious Law. “Spinal cord injuries, although not common, have a devastating effect on victims. Any research that offers hope of increased mobility, a greater chance of recovery and a return to an almost normal life is to be welcomed with open arms. Stem cell research, despite its sometimes controversial nature, is demonstrating itself to be of incredible importance in the advancement of more complex treatments for serious injuries. This news from Canada shows that the scientific community is taking this research very seriously indeed. It could mean considerable advances in treatments are just around the corner,” he adds.

International co-operation

Further good news for spinal cord injury research has also come from Australia, where the Queensland-Canada Spinal Cord Injury Alliance, a joint initiative of Queensland University’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) and Canadian researchers, has received a AU$1million grant. The IHBI research project is concentrating on developing new methods to improve the quality of care for spinal cord injury victims, track their progress and monitor any developments in their conditions. “This research, although less ‘glamorous’ perhaps than stem cell research, is just as important,” says Paul of Serious Law. “Understanding the challenges spinal cord injury victims face and how their condition develops is vital to ensuring that they receive the proper care, treatment and support that they need. It’s important work and it shows that the medical and scientific communities are taking the treatment of spinal cord injuries very seriously. That can only benefit victims in the long term,” he concludes.

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