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Progress In Research 2024

Each year, spinal cord injury (SCI) strikes nearly 18,000 Americans. Many of these individuals instantly lose their mobility, their livelihoods, and grapple with their identity. Since its inception in 1982, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation has served as a lifeline for this community.

When the Foundation was established, scientists believed devising effective treatments for SCI was impossible. But the Reeve Foundation’s staunch refusal to accept that injuries could not be treated fueled an ambitious mission to redefine the future for people living with SCI — and today, the field is brimming with promise.

Today, the Reeve Foundation is accelerating progress with a focus on three key pillars that it believes are essential for advancing cures:

1. Catalyze: The Reeve Foundation is committed to supporting and engaging support for innovative, high-risk, high-reward research initiatives, including preclinical and proof-of-concept clinical trials. For example, funding innovative approaches to address neurogenic bladder and improve quality of life.

2. Energize: One of the Reeve Foundation’s top priorities is increasing collaboration within the SCI community to advance the field. This past summer, the Foundation co-hosted the first annual SCI Investor Symposium with Lineage Cell Therapeutics, a first-of-its-kind convening that brought together industry, academia, and individuals living with SCI to discuss the most promising advances in the field. The 2024 symposium is slated for June.

3. Educate: We strive to create an open data culture that enables scientists to evaluate and replicate other investigators’ findings, which in turn act as a springboard for developing novel research questions. For example, to pave the way for open data-sharing protocols, the Foundation provided the University of Alberta with a grant to hire a data retrieval specialist who will format SCI research data for easy access and provide specialized training to interested institutions.

As part of these and other Foundation-funded projects and grants, labs around the world are pursuing myriad treatments to restore function and improve the health of people living with paralysis — but there’s still much work to do. One of the Reeve Foundation’s highest priorities is to fund translational projects and bring together academia and industry to develop targeted treatments and therapeutics that improve health and well-being.

In the first quarter of 2024, we announced three new grants that are supporting clinical trials and research tools aimed at accelerating the therapeutic development of SCI treatments. These projects include trials focused on: bladder dysfunction; advancing novel brain-spine interface (BSI) technology, which has been shown to enable thought to control movement; and a preclinical study on innovative techniques and technologies to provide standardized lab research resources that do not currently exist.

As we look to the future, the Reeve Foundation will continue to forge powerful partnerships and make strategic investments to address the gaps that stand in the way of progress. Our every endeavor aims to improve our understanding of what the SCI community needs and how we can work together to make a difference in the lives of people living with SCI today, not just years down the line.

I am honored to lead the Reeve Foundation’s Research Program during an era of unprecedented discovery in SCI research. Our research initiatives offer great promise for not only improving mobility among SCI patients, but also for addressing important quality of life measures. We look forward to establishing new partnerships that will propel us even further ahead.

To continue our mission and build on the momentum of the moment, we need your support. If you have the means to donate to the Reeve Foundation again, or for the first time, we would be honored to partner with you to make the impossible, possible.

Marco Baptista, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer

Read the full newsletter here (PDF).

Also Included

Scientific Advisory Board Spotlight: Ona Bloom, Ph.D.

Ona Bloom, from studying the lamprey to trying to improve the lives of people with spinal cord injury.

Implantable Brain-Computer Interface Collaborative Community

Reeve Foundation is proud to join this novel Collaborative Community and is represented by Cristin Welle, Ph.D.

Promising Spinal Cord Injury Research at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Reeve visited the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab for an inside peek at promising research underway.

Cell Transplants for the Treatment of SCI at Lineage Cell Therapeutics

Learn more about Lineage’s work developing OPC1, an investigational cell transplant, for the treatment of SCI.

Spinal Cord Injury Investor Symposium

The second annual Spinal Cord Injury Investor Symposium, which will be held at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, Roth Auditorium in La Jolla, California, on June 26 & 27, 2024. Register here.

In June 2023, the Reeve Foundation and Lineage Cell Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing allogeneic cell therapies for unmet medical needs, joined together to co-host the inaugural Spinal Cord Injury Investor Symposium (“SCIIS”). This first-of-its-kind forum brought together healthcare companies, thought leaders, policymakers and individuals impacted by paralysis to shine a light on recent innovations, advancements, and challenges in the treatment of spinal cord injury — for the shared purpose of accelerating new therapies. View the talks here.

Donate today to advance SCI and paralysis research.