Spinal cord injury research at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health will be accelerated by a 10-year, $20 million contribution from the Rick Hansen Foundation.
The International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), a UBC-VCH research centre, will share the funds with the Rick Hansen Institute, which coordinates and assists spinal cord injury researchers around the world.
The collaboration, called the Blusson Integrated Cures Partnership, will leverage the strengths of each organization to identify new treatments for spinal cord injury (SCI), and study the use of existing treatments for other neurological disorders, injuries and diseases for SCI. The partnership is named for the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre at Vancouver General Hospital, which houses both entities.
“ICORD’s scientists and clinicians have been working on many fronts in the quest to treat spinal cord injury, such as stimulating the re-growth of nerve fibres in the damaged cord, or re-training spared or re-grown nerve fibres through rehabilitation,” said Dr. Gavin Stuart, Dean of the UBC Faculty of Medicine and Vice Provost, Health.
“We are grateful for this new infusion of support and look forward to working closely with the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Rick Hansen Institute on the most effective allocation of funds, and the most promising strategies, for bringing our discoveries to patients.”
One of the goals for the partnership will be creating an international network of SCI researchers for pursuing laboratory research and clinical trials, and facilitating participation of people with SCI in clinical trials related to their condition.
“The funding will also work to inform, empower and include people with SCI to be champions and active participants in our efforts to create a world without paralysis and spinal cord injury,” Rick Hansen said.