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The latest news and information about what's going on with SCI science and research. Brought to you by Sam Maddox, author of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Guide.

Most Recent Research News Blog Posts

A research paper came out a few days ago about how spinal cord axons, what many of us think of as nerve fibers, are guided to make connections exactly where they are supposed to. That issue – connecting – is a primary concern in development, as the system is formed with elegance and precision, and again after spinal cord injury, where it doesn’t ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 31, 2015 5:42 PM EDT
Asterias Biotherapeutics announced today that a third patient with a cervical spinal cord injury has been dosed with embryonic stem cells (code-named AST-OPC1) as part of the company’s acute (14 to 30 days post injury) Phase 1/2a clinical trial of oligodendrocyte progenitor (OP) cells. In case you don’t have your scorecard in front of ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 31, 2015 4:07 PM EDT
Clearing out the spinal cord scar using a bacterial roto-rooter; seeding the injury site with fragments of peripheral nerve; souping up inactive spinal cord nerve cells by modifying their genetic blueprints – these are three well-studied ideas that have each captured major mindshare in the spinal cord research community, and have over years of ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Aug 24, 2015 4:33 PM EDT
Veteran spinal cord injury researcher Philip Horner, Ph.D., has been named scientific director for The Houston Methodist Neurological Institute’s new Center for Neuroregenerative Medicine. Horner began his research career at Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA; there he was an Associate in the Reeve Foundation ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 31, 2015 9:11 PM EDT
More cool news was released today about voluntary recovery after complete spinal cord injury. No surgery!   Let’s start with a statement, this from Reggie Edgerton, principal investigator behind the new publication, “ Noninvasive Reactivation of Motor Descending Control after Paralysis .”   “People who are paralyzed are ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 30, 2015 3:40 PM EDT
A research study was published today in the journal PLOS One by the Susan Harkema lab at the University of  Louisville, looking again at the benefits of epidural spinal cord stimulation, this time with regard to standing. PLOS is an open access journal; you can read the paper, Effects of Lumbosacral Spinal Cord Epidural Stimulation for Standing ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 24, 2015 4:53 PM EDT
Is there a realistic case to be made for regeneration? You hear folks say they don't want a bridge or a segmental patch job on their spinal cord injuries. They don't want an on-off switch either. They want the real biological cure, and the way this can only go is by regeneration of axons that start in the brain. These are the long nerve wires that run ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 20, 2015 3:32 PM EDT
There are still a few spots open to attend the Advanced Course: Spinal Cord Injury, September 12-19, 2015 at the  Neuroscience School of Advanced Studies , Abbazia di Novacella, Südtirol, Italian Alps. For one intense week you will work alongside faculty that are undisputed leaders in their own field: the result is a profound experience ... more...
Posted by Community Admin on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jul 16, 2015 9:01 AM EDT
You have to applaud Erik Sorto for letting these engineers monkey around with his posterior parietal cortex (PPC). I might let them mess with mine but not if they have to attach those huge electrical portals on my skull the way the did with Erik.  Photo courtesy of Caltech, Keck USC, Rancho Los Amigos Team. In case you missed it, this story from Los ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research May 26, 2015 10:39 PM EDT
It’s coming up on 10 years now since a scientific paper was published that would embolden California-based StemCells, Inc. to take an experimental line of neural stem cells into human trials. This 2005 research, conducted by Brian and Aileen Anderson, at the University of California, Irvine’s Reeve-Irvine Center, funded in part by the ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research May 18, 2015 10:09 PM EDT
Over the last few years we have written several times about a nifty genetic manipulation that reboots key nerves in the spinal cord to regenerate in a big way. Starting back in 2008, Zhigang He, at Harvard, got damaged optic nerves going again by deleting PTEN, a tumor suppressor gene that cancer researchers had come across back in the 1990s; this enzyme ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Apr 30, 2015 4:58 PM EDT
Chinese scientists report that they fixed a completely cut spinal cord in lab animals. That is the gist of a spinal cord injury regeneration research publication in the open-access journal PLOS-One that caught my attention this week. “ Tissue-Engineered Regeneration of Completely Transected Spinal Cord Using Induced Neural Stem Cells and ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Mar 31, 2015 7:24 PM EDT
Using a drug already approved for treating cancer, a group from Germany was able to stimulate damaged spinal cord nerve fibers to reboot their growth. What’s more, the drug also reduced the formation of scar at the injury site, leading to regeneration and functional recovery. The Frank Bradke lab at German Center for Neurodegenerative ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Mar 17, 2015 8:38 PM EDT
Stem cells have been in the news pretty much nonstop since the turn of the century. In the spinal cord injury realm, the stem cell story resonates in the imagination, in the labs, and now in clinical trials. Presently there are two stem cell clinical trials enrolling chronic spinal cord injury patients in the U.S., with a third trial (not chronic) due to ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Mar 3, 2015 1:02 AM EST
The Italian head transplant has come back into the news; the same story surfaced two years ago as HEAVEN , the Head Anastomosis Venture. It didn’t get so much traction, but here it is again, I suppose because Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero has laid out a timeline, and a vision. Within two years, he says, some head will get a new body.   Canavero says ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Feb 27, 2015 1:18 PM EST
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation campaign, The Big Idea , announced last fall, is raising money to enroll 36 spinal cord injury patients in a clinical trial to prove in meaningful terms that epidural spinal cord stimulation is a valid therapy leading to significant improvement of cardiovascular, respiratory, bladder, bowel and sexual ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jan 31, 2015 10:32 PM EST
Martyn Goulding and his group at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., published a very cool paper this week in the journal Cell describing how the spinal cord acts as a “mini-brain” to help mammals attain motor control and balance. In other words, they posit that smart spinal cord circuitry, and not solely the direct input of the ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Jan 31, 2015 2:17 AM EST
Welcome to the new year. Here’s to the highest of hopes for 2015. It cannot be denied, 2014 was a banner year for research to improve function after chronic spinal cord injury. Clinical trials began in the U.S. with two separate stem cell lines, and with an implanted scaffold. Another stem cell trial, halted four years ago, will reboot soon. Spinal ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Dec 31, 2014 11:25 PM EST
A 52-patient Phase II clinical trial to measure the effect of neural stem cells in chronic cervical spinal cord injury began last week at the Miami Project. The trial, dubbed the Pathway Study, is sponsored by California-based StemCells, Inc., and is an expansion of a safety study of 12 patients with thoracic injuries; that work was done mainly in ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Dec 20, 2014 5:33 PM EST
A very neat experiment was reported earlier this month showing that a new kind of drug, injected under the skin early after injury, can improve functional recovery of paralyzed animals. The work, published in the leading journal Nature , comes from the Jerry Silver group at Case Western in Cleveland, and continues the lab’s long-term focus on ... more...
Posted by Sam Maddox on Spinal Cord Injury Research Dec 15, 2014 6:04 PM EST

Most Recent Comments

this is tremendous news...so much respect for Dr Edgerton.
Thanks for the update on promising technology. Let's hope it's safe and can be replicated in other trials.
Great news - when are they going to stop ignoring the people with ischemic injuries and do some research on US???? It g...
Thanks for your real good activity
I am paraplegic with D5 dislocation fracture. As per my MRI report My spinal cord get completely transacted at D5, th...

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