Health New hope for reversing spinal cord injuries

New hope for reversing spinal cord injuries

Every day someone, somewhere in Australia, will be devastated by a spinal cord injury. It robs a person of their freedom and independence and turns lives upside down.

Now trials of a promising new treatment that may reverse the paralysing effects of spinal cord injuries will soon begin at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).

A new Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at University of Technology Sydney will build on the breakthrough research results of UCLA-based scientist Dr Reggie Edgerton in treating spinal cord injury.

Twenty paralysed people have so far regained the ability to move limbs after chronic spinal cord injury through “epidural electrical stimulation” – a novel technique pioneered by the US researcher.

Professor Edgerton has agreed to collaborate with UTS to establish, trial and develop his ground-breaking research in Australia.

Epidural electrical stimulation is one of the most promising fields of research in spinal injury. It involves implanting a small electrode array against the spinal cord below the site of the injury.

Professor Edgerton has developed the treatment that allows electrical stimulation through the skin, eliminating the dangers and cost of surgery.

UTS Professor Bryce Vissel will head the new Centre.

“Every day in Australia another person is paralysed from a spinal injury due to a vehicle accident, sporting injury or simple fall,” Professor Vissel said.

“Promising therapies such as Professor Edgerton’s will finally be tested with people here who so desperately need them.”

UTS is working with SpinalCure Australia (SpinalCure) and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) to support focused integrated research in this field.

Read more about the new UTS research centre here. Story credit: University of Technology Sydney newsroom

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