NeuRA welcomes NSW Govt funding for spinal cord injury research

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) welcomes the NSW Government’s announcement of a new $15 million investment in spinal cord injury research.

This funding will help researchers to develop new treatment methods and cures for people who are suffering from spinal injuries.

“Each year there are more than 300 new cases of spinal cord injury in Australia. Breakthroughs in research could significantly improve the quality of life for thousands of Australians who live with a permanent disability, such as paralysis or the loss of sensation,” said NeuRA CEO Peter Schofield AO.

“Our research ranges from development of preventative strategies to studies of treatments that improve the health and capacity of spinal patients,” he said.

In 2018, a breakthrough study by NeuRA’s Associate Professor Sylvia Gustin found that half of all people suffering from a complete spinal cord injury still have surviving somatosensory pathways at the level of the spine.

Associate Professor Gustin found that the brains of people with paraplegia registered a signal when their toes were stimulated, despite not being able to feel them.

“The finding has received significant attention from researchers and medical professionals around the world. For the first time, individuals who thought they could not move or feel below the site of their spinal injury have the potential to feel again,” said Associate Professor Gustin.

She has recently worked with international researchers to develop the world’s first virtual reality walking interface – called the AVATAR Project – which allows people with a spinal cord injury to move in a virtual environment.

The project could help to the restore touch sensation to many people with spinal cord injury in Australia and around the world.

“New funding from the NSW Government will enable Australia to take a leading role in the development of new methods of treatment like the AVATAR Project to dramatically improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injury,” said Associate Professor Gustin.


Media contact:
David Crisante | 0433 943 014