The LSPF funds a variety of research projects including including SCI research through The University of Texas, Colorado University, Rutgers University, and others. The funds raised through the Lone Star Classic have begun to improve the lives of those who have been injured and their families in Central Texas. By diligently examining research efforts the Foundation is able to identify initiatives that show the most promise for a cure and can be expedited with funding available from the Foundation. Here are some of the research we are involved in:
10.31.2016: Phosphatase and Tensin homolog (PTEN)
Simply stated, PTEN can be thought of as a brake on the molecular pathways that enable cellular growth. PTEN is switched off during childhood, allowing growth and development, and switches on again after adolescence to prevent cellular overgrowth. Secondarily, PTEN is being studied as a potential cancer tumor suppressor gene. Switching on PTEN after adolescence has a side effect. It is critical in blocking nerve regeneration. The research teams found that turning off PTEN enables unprecedented nerve regeneration, including the regeneration of the connections that control one’s ability to move voluntarily.
The collaboration between Drs. He and Dr. Steward has resulted in 11 published papers. The acute injury research has been so well established that it is time to test the PTEN inhibition in primates with acute SCI. There is a well-known expression in the biotech world. The expression is “the valley of death”, which refers to the time after an initial discovery is made until the time that a commercial entity can pick up the research for funding. The acute injury research has traversed the valley of death and the startup company named Axonis will fund the acute injury primate research..
99.9% of the humans with SCI have chronic injuries. Chronic injury research is our highest priority. There are 2.5 million people living with chronic SCI in the United States and Europe. Clearly we can impact the most lives by developing a treatment for chronic injury. One can calculate the financial costs of chronic SCI but it is impossible to put a number on all the pain and suffering that accompanies chronic spinal cord injury.
The chronic injury research needs to traverse the valley of death.
There is a strong indication that the chronic injury research experiment might have positive results. Kai Lu was the postdoctoral researcher in Zhigang He’s lab who performed the experiment that resulted in the PTEN breakthrough. Dr. Lu went on to form his own lab at Hong Kong University. In the summer of 2015 Dr. Lu published a paper showing very good regeneration of CST axons in a chronic injury model.
We need to further Dr. Lu’s observation of regeneration in chronic injury and prove that the regeneration in chronic injury can lead to recovery.
The lack of chronic injury experiments is directly attributed to the increased cost of running a chronic injury experiment. We have a golden opportunity to test and prove that the treatment that caused the best recovery in the history of acute spinal cord injury research can cause similar recovery in chronic SCI injury research. I can’t over emphasize the importance of funding this experiment.
Thank you again so much for your interest helping to make history.
02-07-2014: University of Texas at Austin Center for Neuroscience
The University of Texas Research – funded by Lone Star Paralysis Foundation – publishes major breakthrough in Nerve Repair Surgery. Learn more.
Professor George Bittner and his colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin Center for Neuroscience have developed a simple and inexpensive procedure to quickly repair severed peripheral nerves.
The team took advantage of a mechanism similar to that which permits many invertebrates to regenerate and repair nerve damage. The new procedure, based on timely application of common chemicals to the severed nerve ends, could help patients to recover nearly full function in days or weeks. Learn more.
Sources: University of Texas, News in Physiological Sciences
Adult Stem Cell in Spinal Cord Treatment Summit
The Lone Star Paralysis Foundation, founded by Austinite Doug English in 2000, hosted the Adult Stem Cell in Spinal Cord Treatment Summit in Austin, Texas. An integral part of this summit was the Spinal Cord Injury Workshop at University Medical Center at Brackenridge Hospital. The goal of this workshop was to bring some of the best minds in spinal cord research together to find opportunities to further the advancement of a cure for spinal cord injuries. While many clinical trials of spinal cord injury therapies have begun overseas, few or no clinical trials, particularly those aimed at chronic spinal cord injury, have taken place in the United States. This workshop marked the start of national clinical trials for the North American Spinal Cord Injury Network (NASciNet.org) at five major hospitals and research centers.
The Lone Star Paralysis Foundation has developed a Medical Research Advisory Committee that meets monthly to discuss the latest technology and advances in spinal cord injury research. This committee will give reports on current research being funded and make recommendations for future funding to the Board of Directors. Subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates on this committee, funded research projects, and all activities of the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation.
The Lone Star Paralysis Foundation is involved in all three aspects of a spinal cord injury:
We are funding programs that are helping people with spinal cord injuries today through programs at the Brain and Spine Recovery Center. Patients with spinal cord injuries go through an intensive advanced therapy program. They are then encouraged to stay physically fit in the community through programs like the spinal cord injury community fitness center. We want to make sure that all individuals with spinal cord injuries have the tools necessary to recover to their greatest ability.
Brain and Spine Recovery Center – Neurosciences at University Medical Center Brackenridge
The Brain and Spine Recovery Center is pushing the envelope on traditional therapy and getting some great results from patients that are newly injured to thirty years post-acute. In 2003, the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation granted the seed money to the Brain and Spine Center to initiate a new Functional Electrical Stimulation physical therapy research project. Visit the websites below for more information about the Brain and Spine Center.
Seton Brain and Spine Center
Seton Brain and Spine Institute
University of Texas at Austin Department of Neurobiology
Lone Star Paralysis Foundation is excited about funding cutting edge research at the University of Texas at Austin Department of Neurobiology. Dr. George Bittner is using Polyethylene-Glycol to repair injured nerve axons.
Southwestern Spinal Cord Injury Center
The Southwestern Spinal Cord Injury Center will study how the injured spinal cord can be retrained to function using body weight supported treadmill training with therapists or with a robotic device. Learn more.
University of Colorado at Boulder
The Lone Star Paralysis Foundation is funding the work of Dr. Stephen Davies, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. Here are some links to youtube.com with his work on New Spinal Cord Cells and Molecules for SCI Repair.