What is neurostimulation?
Neurostimulation is the process of using gentle electrical currents to stimulate the spinal cord below the point of injury, enabling nerve circuits in the spinal cord to ‘hear’ and act upon messages coming from the brain.
Neurostimulation is a quantum leap forward in spinal cord injury research and has proven to be able to return unprecedented levels of feeling and function to people suffering from paralysis as a result of a chronic injury.
Excitingly, movement is just part of the picture. Neurostimulation is also proving to have a very positive effect on bladder and bowel control, cardiovascular function, autonomic control (blood pressure, temperature etc.) and sexual function.
What is Project Edge?
It is a groundbreaking collaboration between the University of Technology Sydney, Professor Reggie Edgerton, SpinalCure Australia and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia to establish Australia’s first research program treating paralysed humans with neurostimulation.
The project is initially planned for a five-year duration, during which we aim to develop a technology and treatment protocol package that can then be rolled out across rehabilitation centres across the country, benefiting the many thousands of Australians suffering from spinal cord injury who currently have no other such promising treatments available.
Initial experiments will focus on using transcutaneous (through the skin) stimulation to recover upper limb function and mobility in patients with quadriplegia. Early results in this area are promising and our researchers here in Australia will be able to build upon these early successes.
What are the Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine and the spinal cord injury recovery program?
The Centre is the new collaborative-research hub at UTS, headed by SpinalCure Fellow Prof Bryce Vissel, which will focus on neurotrauma and neurodegenerative disease research. The spinal cord injury recovery program sits within this Centre and comprises the Neurostimulation initiative and several other SCI research projects.
We envision that with enough funding secured, the spinal cord injury recovery program at UTS will be the largest and most comprehensive effort to cure spinal cord injury in Asia Pacific and the Southern Hemisphere, the ultimate goal being to lead the world to unprecedented levels of recovery for people with spinal cord injury.
About UTS Professor of Neuroscience Bryce Vissel
Prof Vissel will lead the University’s newly established Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine. Before joining UTS he led research for brain and spinal cord repair at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and prior to that was based at the Salk Institute in the USA. Professor Vissel is a SpinalCure Fellow, regular media commentator on health matters, an advisor to government and patient advocacy groups, and has gained international recognition, receiving a number of awards including the prestigious Fulbright award, a Liebermann award and a BIOFIRST award.
Who is Professor Edgerton?
Professor Reggie Edgerton is a distinguished professor across four departments at the University of California Los Angeles, as well as the Director of the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory there.
Professor Edgerton has spent 40 years researching spinal cord injury recovery, leading to these unprecedented breakthroughs and we are extremely fortunate to have Prof Edgerton helping us to continue this vital work in Australia.
Read more about his research journey in this fascinating 2016 Boston Globe article – ‘One scientist’s dogged quest to fix broken spinal cords pays off…’
Discover more about his work at the UCLA Edgerton lab
How can I register to participate in the program?
By subscribing using the form below you will informed later this year on how and when the scientists involved will be recruiting volunteers.
The partners have no ability to influence whom is selected for participation in the program. We can however endeavour to keep you informed on how you can ensure that your own information, or that of your loved one is available for consideration when selection time arrives.
Registering interest here is registering for notifications only, it is not registration for a clinical trial or experimental treatment and does not guarantee participation in the research program.
Note: It is important to register for this list even if you are already a SpinalCure or Project Edge email subscriber.
When is the first experiment starting?
We expect that work will commence in the second quarter of 2017.
How can I help?
We’re so pleased you asked! Your support is vital in ensuring this vision can be realised and help delivered to those who suffer most.
Donations and regular giving are always most welcome. As are the many other ways to support this vital work including fund-raising, skilled volunteering, in-kind contributions, bequests and more.
Your support is invaluable to the success of the program, call or email us today to learn about the impact your contribution will have, or to find out how we can help you in your fundraising efforts.
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