Our achievements

Thirty years ago spinal cord injury was considered incurable and few people, if any, were contemplating research into repair. Today we are standing on the brink of clinical trials of therapies that will restore movement and feeling and transform the lives of paralysed people.

Spinal Research has been there from the beginning, playing a key role in building the field of spinal cord injury research, both nationally and internationally.

We saw the importance of funding the best projects and researchers in the UK and abroad, not only to return the best results but to sow international interest in spinal cord repair. We have helped to spread the message worldwide by publishing our Research Strategy in peer-reviewed journals, encouraging discussion and debate.  As a founding member of the International Campaign for Cures of Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis (ICCP), we have supported the development of international guidelines for clinical trials in this field.

Through our Clinical Initiative we have committed ourselves to developing and testing the most appropriate tools for clinical assessment of repair strategies. Our Translational Initiative seeks to move key developments from the laboratory towards clinical trials to benefit real people. We have given priority to research into chronic conditions and non-locomotive functions, knowing that improvements in bladder, bowel and sexual function would increase quality of life for many people. Finally, by providing annual PhD studentship awards we are encouraging talented neuroscientists to train in spinal cord injury and repair, helping to assure the future success of the field.

We are proud to have supported major breakthroughs, including the discovery of:

  • inhibitory factors within the scar tissue of spinal cord injury that stop nerve fibre regenerating
  • specialised olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) in the nose and brain that can be used to guide and encourage nerve regrowth

Other recent projects have included the development of ReJoyce, a computerised rehabilitation workstation for hand and arm exercises, which uses video games based on everyday tasks.  Developed by Professor Prochazka’s team at the University of Alberta, Canada, ReJoyce can improve hand function by over 17% compared to conventional treatment.  It is now available commercially and is being used in spinal cord injury centres around the world. Spinal Research has been offered share options in the development company so that profits from this and future innovations can be re-invested in new science. This is a wonderful model for future research projects.

None of this would be possible without your support. Thank you.

We still have much to do.

We need to continue to fund groundbreaking research, and would also like to:

  • create a UK centre of research excellence in spinal cord injury
  • promote the development of a public domain database to enable international researchers to share and analyse experimental data
  • set up a Summer School to train young scientists in the core curriculum of spinal cord injury repair
  • make the case for more public funding for this area of research
  • communicate research results more widely, to raise awareness of the coming possibility of recovery from paralysis.

Please help us take the next crucial steps forward… donate now