One out of every 50 people in the United States is living with paralysis1. The majority are people who have been paralyzed due to stroke, multiple sclerosis or spinal-cord injury. In the next 25 years, the number of people who are paralyzed is expected to double.
Currently, most treatments only help patients learn to live with their paralysis, rather than curing it. Assistive devices and accommodations, hospital stays and rehabilitation can take a toll on the physical, mental and financial well-being of patients and their families.
But today – thanks to advances in technology – it’s possible to imagine helping people with paralysis move again. Like the cochlear implant that has brought hearing to thousands of patients who were once thought to be permanently deaf, today we can imagine a device that could help patients with paralysis begin to move independently.
To do this, we need a deeper understanding of how the spinal cord works, a way to test technology, and we need your help building a research platform that will accelerate innovation to treat paralysis.
The Swedish Spinal Cord Research Platform
The spinal cord is one of the most complex and least understood structures of the human body – understanding it and how it works is key to creating new treatments for paralysis. To do this, the Swedish Neuroscience Institute will create the Swedish Spinal Cord Research Platform by developing:
- A 3-D Human Spinal Cord Atlas to help us understand every part of the spinal cord and how the parts work together to make our bodies move. The atlas is key to understanding how to by-pass spinal cord injuries and diseases such as MS and ALS to help patients regain their ability to walk.
- A spinal cord registry and tissue bank to store the samples collected to build the atlas and identify trends in mechanisms of paralysis. This open platform will give researchers across the country access to data that could speed up innovation and the development of new treatment options for patients with paralysis.
- A clinical trials system to give our patients faster access to the latest treatments and provide the research community with a way to safely and effectively test new treatment ideas.
The Swedish Spinal Cord Research Platform will be the most sophisticated paralysis research program in the world, giving our physicians and research partners a comprehensive understanding of how the spinal cord works and a way to translate research into new treatment options for patients.
We are nimble, innovative and committed to pushing the state-of-the art through research. SNI’s commitment to using the most advanced treatment technology when it is appropriate for the patient, makes us the ideal leader to quickly and safely translate research into new treatments, bringing hope to the millions of people who are living with paralysis today.
1. Reeve Foundation