SCI Research and Rehabilitation: Mayo Clinic Radio

Dr. Kendall Lee, neurosurgeon and director of Mayo Clinic’s Neural Engineering Laboratories, covers two topics – deep brain stimulation surgery and the latest update on spinal cord injury research (at 10:00 min) from the neurosurgeon’s perspective.

Rehabilitation for spinal cord stimulation patient: Mayo Clinic Radio
A joint research study between Mayo Clinic and UCLA has yielded results, showing that the networks of neurons below a spinal cord injury still can function after paralysis. On the Mayo Clinic Radio podcast, Dr. Kristin Zhao, director of Mayo Clinic’s Assistive and Restorative Technology Laboratory, explains the spinal cord stimulation research from the rehabilitation perspective. Megan Gill, a Mayo Clinic physical therapist, also joins the discussion.

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Rehabilitation, Spinal Research | Tagged ,

Therapeutic Stimulation for Restoration of Function After Spinal Cord Injury

“This review summarizes different approaches to electrical stimulation of
the spinal cord designed to restore motor function, with a brief discussion of their
origins and the current understanding of their mechanisms of action.”

Therapeutic Stimulation for Restoration of Function After Spinal Cord Injury

Authors: Aiva Levins and Chet Moritz at PHYSIOLOGY • Volume 32 • September 2017 •

Restorative Technologies Laboratory Website and Clinical Trials LINK

Chet Moritz, PhD


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Louis and Harold Price Foundation boosts SCI work at the Dr. Daniel Lu Laboratory with $3M gift

From the UCLA Newsroom

“The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA has received a $3 million gift from The Louis and Harold Price Foundation to support the spinal cord work of Dr. Daniel Lu, associate professor of neurosurgery and director of the UCLA Neuroplasticity and Repair Laboratory and UCLA Neuromotor Recovery and Rehabilitation Center.

Daniel Lu, MD, PhD

Lu’s research combines basic science and clinical testing to decode the spinal cord’s electrical language, which controls muscle function in multiple motor systems. He applies these findings in studies of potential treatments for patients with spinal cord injuries, using different methods to activate the spinal cord and restore normal function.

The new funds will enable Lu to test promising treatments in larger patient groups, with the potential for groundbreaking therapies. The expanded studies will evaluate whether various spinal stimulation approaches improve patient outcomes such as strength, mobility of limbs and bladder control.”

Read the Full Article at the UCLA Newsroom

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BioAxone receives fast track grant for Rho Kinase 2 inhibitor to improve outcomes in chronic SCI

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BioAxone BioSciences, Inc. announced today the receipt of a Fast-Track grant (R44 NS110290-01) from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, as part of the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. The grant provides funding for milestone-driven research to assess the potential of BA-1049, a Rho Kinase 2 (ROCK2) inhibitor in BioAxone’s pipeline, to improve recovery in chronic spinal cord injury. BA-1049 is a first-in-class ROCK2-selective inhibitor that has shown promising safety and efficacy in multiple preclinical models of neurovascular disease.

See the full article at Business Wire

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Spinal Research | Tagged ,

SCI Trial Report Standing and Walking with Electrical Stimulation at Mayo

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Spinal cord stimulation and physical therapy have helped a man paralyzed since 2013 regain his ability to stand and walk with assistance. The results, achieved in a research collaboration between Mayo Clinic and UCLA, are reported in Nature MedicineSupplementary Video

See the Full Article and Video at Mayo Clinic Blog 

Co-first authors are Megan Gill, physical therapist, and Peter Grahn, Ph.D., senior engineer. The Mayo researchers worked closely with the team of V. Reggie Edgerton, Ph.D., at UCLA on this study. Additional co-authors are Jonathan Calvert, Margaux Linde, Igor Lavrov, M.D., Ph.D, Jeffrey Strommen, M.D., Lisa Beck, Meegan Van Straaten, Dina Drubach, Daniel Veith, Andrew Thoreson and Cesar Lopez of Mayo Clinic; Dimitry Sayenko, M.D., Ph.D., Houston Methodist Research Institute; and Yury Gerasimenko, Ph.D., UCLA.

This research was funded by The Grainger Foundation, Regenerative Medicine Minnesota, Jack Jablonski BEL13VE in Miracles Foundation, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine, Mayo Clinic Rehabilitation Medicine Research Center, Mayo Clinic Transform the Practice, Minnesota Office of Higher Education Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Grant Program, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Dana and Albert R. Broccoli Charitable Foundation, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and Walkabout Foundation.


Neuro Central LINK

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Recovery of overground walking after chronic motor complete with Epi Stim

Here is today’s latest information in a brief article and video on the spinal cord injury trial testing Epi Stim Standing and Stepping in the number, NCT02339233.

Recovery of Over-Ground Walking after Chronic Motor Complete Spinal Cord Injury at the New England Journal of Medicine LINK

Summary: “Persons with motor complete spinal cord injury, signifying no voluntary movement or sphincter function below the level of injury but including retention of some sensation, do not recover independent walking. We tested intense locomotor treadmill training with weight support and simultaneous spinal cord epidural stimulation in four patients 2.5 to 3.3 years after traumatic spinal injury and after failure to improve with locomotor training alone. Two patients, one with damage to the mid-cervical region and one with damage to the high-thoracic region, achieved over-ground walking (not on a treadmill) after 278 sessions of epidural stimulation and gait training over a period of 85 weeks and 81 sessions over a period of 15 weeks, respectively, and all four achieved independent standing and trunk stability.”

Study Authors:   Claudia A. Angeli, Ph.D.,  Maxwell Boakye, M.D., Rebekah A. Morton, B.S., Justin Vogt, B.S.,  Kristin Benton, B.S.,  Yangshen Chen, Ph.D., Christie K. Ferreira, B.S., and Susan J. Harkema, Ph.D.

From the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute (C.A.A., R.A.M., J.V., K.B., S.J.H.), and the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (C.A.A., M.B., Y.C., C.K.F., S.J.H.) and the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine (M.B., R.A.M., J.V., K.B., Y.C., C.K.F., S.J.H.), University of Louisville — all in Louisville, KY.

CNN News Coverage and Video





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SCI 2020: Launching a Decade for Disruption in Spinal Cord Injury Research

The goal of the ‘SCI 2020: Launching a Decade for Disruption in Spinal Cord Injury Research’ conference is to initiate discussion across the SCI research community to launch a new decade of research that disrupts traditional barriers and brings about collaborative efforts to address the key research questions in spinal cord injury research.

This conference is designed to be a comprehensive stakeholder’s meeting to bring diverse experience and voices together with this common goal.  The participants will be challenged to critically evaluate the state of the science, assess areas of scientific, technological and community readiness, and identify the collaborations needed to change the trajectory of research and clinical opportunities for people with SCI.


  1. To address and raise awareness of recent progress and current gaps in SCI research
  2. To provide opportunities for collaboration across basic, translational, clinical research and consumer groups
  3. To identify the top SCI research priorities for next 5-10 years — of and for the SCI research community — at the intersection of Scientific / Technological / Community Readiness

Website Registration and Information LINK

Posted in Advocacy | 5 Comments

Three prong approach bridges complete SCI in rodents

EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland and UCLA (University of California in Los Angeles, California) have collaborated in making severed nerve fibers  regenerate across a complete SCI to form a bridge in rodents.  Their three part recipe for success was reported in Nature, but the first component that stimulates the growth of neurons happens two weeks before injury in their model.  The rodents did not recover functional walking.  The scientists will also have to learn the requirements for the axons to make their appropriate connections with the locomotor circuits below the injury.  That will entail rehabilitation with electrical stimulation to integrate, tune and make the new axons functional so the rodents can walk.  This is not close to clinical translation, but is a very productive collaboration project heading in the right direction toward regeneration.   (cp)

Science Daily Article Link   

EPFL News Link

Scientific American Link

Required growth facilitators propel axon regeneration across complete spinal cord injury. Nature, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0467-6  

Authors:  Mark A. Anderson, Timothy M. O’Shea, Joshua E. Burda, Yan Ao, Sabry L. Barlatey, Alexander M. Bernstein, Jae H. Kim, Nicholas D. James, Alexandra Rogers, Brian Kato, Alexander L. Wollenberg, Riki Kawaguchi, Giovanni Coppola, Chen Wang, Timothy J. Deming, Zhigang He, Gregoire Courtine, Michael V. Sofroniew.




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Work towards finding the right stem cell for SCI therapy

I recently read a wonderful paper published in Nature addressing a stem cell experiment  for spinal cord injury.  This paper is very scientifically detailed, but they show the need for having the right age and origin of stem cell to propagate for making a relay to integrate into the spared circuits.   Don’t let the mention of the DREADD approach intimidate you from tackling this publication and understanding the premise of it’s content.  In order to test the cell relay function, they silenced the electrical activity using a DREADD receptor.  This was an amazing set of experiments that moves us one step closer.  (cp)

Nature Communications volume 9, Article number: 3419 (2018)

Human neuroepithelial stem cell regional specificity enables spinal cord repair through a relay circuit

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Regenerative Medicine, Spinal Research, Stem Cell Research | Tagged ,

More good news out of UCLA lab on restoring bladder function non-invasive after SCI

A non-invasive method to restore bladder function after a spinal cord injury continues to show progress in the Dr. Daniel Lu laboratory at UCLA.  This experiment showed positive results in 5 people eliminating the need for catheters for up to 4 weeks. (cp)

In UCLA study, magnetic stimulation of lower spine eliminates need for catheter for up to 4 weeks


UCLA neuroscientists, led by Dr. Daniel Lu, stimulated the lower spinal cord through the skin with a magnetic device placed at the lumbar spine.

UCLA Photo Credit:  UCLA neuroscientists, led by Dr. Daniel Lu, stimulated the lower spinal cord through the skin with a magnetic device placed at the lumbar spine.

“More than 80 percent of the 250,000 Americans living with a spinal cord injury lose the ability to urinate voluntarily after their injury. According to a 2012 study, the desire to regain bladder control outranks even their wish to walk again.

In a study of five men whose injuries occurred five to 13 years ago, UCLA neuroscientists stimulated the lower spinal cord through the skin with a magnetic device placed at the lumbar spine. The research is the first to show that the technique enables people with spinal cord injuries to recover significant bladder control for up to four weeks between treatments. The findings are published today in Scientific Reports”.

Scientific Reports at

A Proof-of-Concept Study of Transcutaneous Magnetic Spinal Cord Stimulation for Neurogenic Bladder

Article OPEN Published: 

Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 12549 (2018)

We thank Dr. David McArthur for statistical support and Ms. Naomi Gonzalez for logistical support. This study was supported by Department of Defense (DOD) research grant SC103209 and H&H Evergreen Foundation. The experiments were conducted in the UCLA Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC), which was supported by NIH/National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) UCLA CTSI Grant Number UL1TR000124. TN is supported by NIH NINDS R25 Research Education Grant. DCL is a 1999 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.

Posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Rehabilitation, Spinal Research | Tagged | 8 Comments