New Spinal Cord Research Injury Centre opens

Today, the New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet opened NeuRA’s new Spinal Cord Injury Research Centre. The Centre, built thanks to generous support from SpinalCure Australia, will be home to new cutting-edge research that couldhelp to significantly improve health outcomes for people with spinal cord injuries. During the visit, the two Ministers announced $6.4 million in funding to projects involving NeuRA’s researchers.

“These projects have great scope, from investigating ways to restore touch sensation through immersive virtual reality through to using electrical stimulation to improve breathing for people affected by the most severe form of paralysis,” said Minister Hazzard.

The Ministers were shown a demonstration of one of NeuRA’s new research projects.  This project, led by Senior Research Scientist Dr Euan McCaughey, involves using electrical stimulation to move parts of the body that would otherwise be pa

ralysed. “This program of work greatly expands our previous research and could significantly improve the lives of those living with a spinal cord injury,” said Dr McCaughey.

NeuRa’s research participant, Steve Ralph, took part in a demonstration with the technology used in Euan McCaughey’s study that showed how electrical stimulation can be used to move Steve’s hand involuntarily.

‘SCIRC’s facility is a state of the art for conducting trials on a large scale. It is extremely suitable for people with spinal cord injuries. Thanks to NeuRA and their research involvement, I am confident we are going to progress and give hope to those with life-changing spinal cord injuries.’

NeuRA’s CEO, Professor Peter Schofield AO, thanked both the NSW Government and SpinalCure Australia for their contribution to spinal cord research. “This contribution will help NeuRA to make new research breakthroughs by using cutting edge technology, such as virtual reality and electrical stimulation, to improve our understanding of how we can best treat people with spinal cord injuries,” he said.


Additional information about NeuRA’s Spinal Cord research can be found here:

Professor Jane Butler will study and optimise therapeutic acute intermittent hypoxia treatment, that could potentially restore voluntary functions after a spinal cord injury.

Using electrical stimulation of the abdominal muscles, Dr Euan McCaughey will be aiming to reduce respiratory complications and improve bowel function.

Associate Professor Sylvia Gustin will be using virtual reality in a way it has never been used before – her RESTORE Project is aiming to restore touch and feeling in people with paraplegia.