An anonymous donated pledged $4 million dollars to the University of Kansas to fund spinal cord injury research. The school will divide the money between two groups in the Medical Centers Research Facility, the Institute for Neurological Disorders.
The first team, Led by Dr. Peter Smith of the Spinal Cord Injuries Repair Programs, is responsible for researching using human skin cells to make stem-cell-like substances to pass electrical signals through the spinal cord. The goal is in directing the stem cells to grow in to certain kinds of neurons that, when mature, can be introduced to the site of the injury. The process has been shown to work in test animals and they need to discover how to make it work in people.
The second team, led by Dr. Randolph Nudo, will be researching ways of transmitting electrical signals from the brain using microelectronics. In patients with a spinal energy, the connection between the brain and the area of the body blow the injury is lost, or impaired. The brain is still able to send the signals but they do not reach the limbs due to a gap in the area of the injury.
If you or someone you know has suffered a TBI or spinal cord injury, an injury attorney can offer guidance.