Donation to boost spinal cord injury research

Professor Alan Mackay-Sim
Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, Deputy Director, Eskitis Institute and Director of the National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research

Griffith University’s Eskitis Institute has been awarded $150,000 from the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation for further research into spinal cord injury.

ProfessorAlan Mackay-Sim, former Queenslander of the Year and Eureka Prize winner, is already developing a process in which nasal cells are being used to regenerate nerve fibres within a damaged spinal cord. This latest funding boost will go towards research into special growth factors at the time of the injury or shortly afterwards.

Professor Mackay-Sim said if this new project is successful it will be a significant step towards a potential new therapy for people left immobile from spinal cord injury.

“The treatment has shown it can eliminate secondary degeneration after spinal cord injury in animals, allowing them to recover movement quickly,” Professor Mackay-Sim said,

The funding from the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation will enableGriffith University to award a PhD scholarship and fund the research costs of another student taking part in the project.

Those students are PHD candidate, Mitchell Cobcroft andMaster of Medical Research Student, Simon Ledwidge.

Perry Cross said he was delighted his Foundation was involved in this spinal cord injury research at Griffith.

“We are in the early stages of this research project, but I hope that one day it will lead to lessening the impact of spinal cord injuries and potentially helping people regain function.”

Director of the Eskitis Institute, Professor Ronald J Quinn AM said the Foundation had made a vital contribution to this ground-breaking work by Professor Mackay-Sim.

“This funding will significantly advance our work in the key Eskitis research area of neurobiology,” Professor Quinn said.

The research will be conducted at the Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery at the Nathan Campus of Griffith University over the next three years.