Doctors say they’re on the cusp of offering the chance to return function to people living with spinal cord injuries, and the treatment will soon be available in Australia.
New Trial Gives Hope To People With Spinal Cord Injuries
Paralysed from the chest down, Alex is one of more than 20,000 Australians living with a spinal cord injury.
“I just happened to have a bad day. I had a crash and was unlucky in how I landed and ended up breaking my C5 vertebrae,” Alex said.
There was no hope of treatment until now.
It’s called Project Spark and involves a group of spinal experts from across the country trying to set up a neurostimulation treatment program. Now the government is kicking in $6 million to get it started.
“This is ground breaking research, we do believe treatment will be available in the next handful of years,” said Kathryn Borkovic, from SpinalCure Australia.
Neurostimulation, while still experimental, is one of the most promising treatments for spinal cord injuries in the world.
It uses tiny electrodes to gently deliver electrical currents to certain parts of the spinal cord to wake up the nerve pathways between the brain and body.
Testing in the U.K. and the U.S. has led some patients to regain the ability to walk.
But Alex’s hopes are a little more humble.
“If I could regain a little bit of hand function or arm function would mean a whole lot of independence I could get back in my life,” Alex said.
Several rounds of trials are set to begin in Melbourne and Sydney with the aim of restoring not just movement but hope for thousands of Australians with spinal injuries.
Source: Network Ten