The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Capstone National Partners announced a $2 million grant from the Department of Defense (DOD) to further support the expansion of translational research to find treatments for individuals living with spinal cord injury, including servicemen and women.
"Spinal cord injuries can be devastating and this DOD award affords us the opportunity to test promising interventions in clinical trials and identify effective treatments for this country's war wounded and for spinal cord patients throughout the world," said Susan Howley, the Reeve Foundation's executive vice president for research.
The DOD awarded the two-year, peer-reviewed grant to the Reeve Foundation's North American Clinical Trials Network (NACTN), a consortium of university hospital neurosurgical and neurorehabilitation teams to bring promising therapies into clinical trials. Led by Dr. Robert G. Grossman, professor of neurosurgery at The Methodist Hospital Neurological Institute in Houston, NACTN gathers and documents patient medical information in a data registry to better understand the body's natural course of recovery after injury, uses standardized patient assessment protocols and develops new ones and conducts new trials of therapy for spinal cord injury.
The funding will support a phase II/III efficacy trial of Riluzole, a neuroprotective drug that is the only FDA-approved drug used in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Laboratory studies have shown it to be effective in limiting traumatic damage to the spinal cord.
NACTN, launched by the Reeve Foundation in 2004, originally had six centers in North America. Since then, the network has expanded to 10 clinical sites, a data management center and a pharmacology center.