Governor signs spinal cord injury research bill

San Jose, CA (October 3) — Students and teachers rejoiced! Athletes rejoiced! So with parents and advocates of spinal cord injury research, who applauded Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signing into law the bill extending the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Act which was set to expire January 1, 2011.

The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Alberto Torrico enabling the state to continue California’s spinal cord research fund through the University of California.

Torrico said, “By allowing the University of California to continue to receive public and private funds for spinal cord research. This law will maintain and expand our research in this field and help us to make important advances. This research, augmented by federal dollars, will enable us to raise the standard of living in the future for the more than 640,000 Californians living with paralysis from neurological conditions.”

Funds have been allocated since 2001 to the University of California and administered by the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, named in part after the late Christopher Reeve, at the University of California, Irvine.

The $13.9 million in state funds allocated so far, have led to $60 million in research grants from the National Institute of Health and other sources. Since then, more than 120 research projects have been conducted. Scientists meet each year at the center to discuss the best way to collaborate on spinal cord injury paralysis.

Research partially funded through the Roman Reed Act has been conducted at UC-Irvine, the University of California, San Francisco, the San Diego and UCLA, among other institutions. The research has resulted in at least 175 published scientific papers and scientific breakthroughs.

The bill was supported by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the California Healthcare Institute, the Stanford Cancer Center, University of California, the Student Society for Stem Cell Research, the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the VM Keeh Center for Collaborative New Science and other institutions and more than 130 individuals.

The Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act was established in 2000 and later renewed in 2005. Reed is a former Chabot College football player who suffered a spinal cord injury during the game. He has become an advocate and spokersperson for funding spinal cord injury research.

Elpidio Estioko
San Jose Education Examiner

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