$24 Million Spinal Cord Repair Project Funded

[This story originally appeared on the Faculty of Applied Science website]

A key challenge in treating traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) — the kind caused by impact from a car crash, a fall, a sporting activity or a violent act — is repairing the gap that is formed when the spine is broken.

This gap, typically a few centimetres wide, essentially blocks nerve impulses from getting through, leading to serious health issues that may include paralysis, loss of blood pressure, bladder and bowel control, sexual dysfunction and chronic pain.

Now a new, multidisciplinary team — aptly named Mend the Gap — is working on a novel approach that may help people with SCI.

The Mend the Gap team recently received $24 million from Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund to investigate using biomaterials — and soft gels in particular — to heal the injury. Dr. John Madden, who leads the Bionics Network research cluster supported by ICICS, is principal investigator [read the full story].