Promising new spinal cord research

Griffith University

Friday, 04 November, 2016

Promising new spinal cord research

A global expert in spinal cord research, Dr Yang D Teng, will be speaking at Griffith University on Monday as part of the ‘Curing Paralysis’ public lecture series.

An associate professor at Harvard Medical School, Dr Teng will speak about the promising results he and colleagues are seeing with stem cell-based multimodal research that he is leading, as well as the spinal cord projects he is developing for collaboration with Australia’s own University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Hunter Medical Research Institute.

“Our research focuses on obtaining functional recovery after spinal cord injury and takes an integrated approach that involves stem cells, biomaterials and pharmacological compounds to induce neural network repair and activation,” said Dr Teng.

“We have already seen some clinical translation of this research approach, with the FDA approval for the first neural scaffold as an implantable therapeutic device for clinical trial to treat acute spinal cord injury.

“We are now looking to investigate results that can help produce the next generation of this implantable device.”

At Harvard’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, progress has been made for enhancing motor function and reducing complications for people with chronic spinal cord injury disabilities, with an impressive number of patients having recovered levels of voluntary movement, sensation and associated health benefits. Clinical trials designed to build on this work will begin soon at Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland and will complement the university’s existing stem cell research.

“We are delighted to be hosting Dr Teng in raising awareness of this important clinical area and are excited to be at the forefront of spinal cord research here on the Gold Coast,” said Professor Harry McConnell, who is spearheading the initiative at Griffith University.

“To date, there have been many advances in spinal cord research using techniques from many different disciplines, such as exercise science and pharmacology. Griffith will be taking advantage of the wide range of research expertise it has in these and other disciplines.

“We are preparing now to undertake a range of cross-disciplinary work and clinical research trials which will provide for a fantastic collaboration between Griffith and Harvard universities.”

The event will be held on 7 November at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus, commencing at 6 pm. More information can be found on Facebook.

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