- Stem Cells: Believed by many to be the most promising avenue of SCI research, but has not done too well in the US due to political pressure and backlash against using stem cells in research. Most of the research is done abroad, with some of the more interesting work being done by Dr. Wise Young in China. For information on the study that he is currently conducting (and, according to various reports, seeing real progress), go to: http://www.chinascinet.org/
- Electric Stimulation: Rob Summers is the poster child for this route to a cure (his story can be found at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1388930/Paralysed-crash-victim-Rob-Summers-walk-thanks-Superman-star-Christopher-Reeve.html). Essentially, this involves implanting an electronic stimulator on the cord, then shocking the cord into action. After the surgery, ROb required extensive PT to make his gains, but oh the gains he has made. This is a really encouraging study!
- Exoskeletons: Exoskeletons are not actually a "cure," but they have the potential to help people with SCIs and other neurological conditions to walk again. The current models would need to get quite a bit smaller before they could be used on a regular basis, but, again, a promising avenue.
Right now, there is a bill making its way through the legislative process in the CA Assembly (to read more about it, go to http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/11/1090693/--People-must-fight-for-each-other-paralysis-cure-bill-hanging-in-the-balance). Bill AB 1657 would add $1 to every traffic ticket. This $1 (all of it) would be directed to spinal cord injury research at the University of California. The UC has made tremendous strides and advances in SCI Research (and, for the more fiscally conservative, every $1 that CA directs to this research center, the center attracts another $4 in outside investment and research...). If AB 1657 does not get approved, though, this research could end. So, I'm asking you (particularly those of you who live in CA) to write an email/letter and let CA lawmakers know that this is an important issue.
Send your emails to:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Assemblyman Fuentes is Chairman of Appropriations, which is where the bill is now)
Jeff.Barbosa@asm.ca.gov –Legislative Director for Bob Wieckowski, who is sponsoring this bill (and is the assemblyman for our hometown of Fremont)
If you'd rather write a letter, you can mail it to:
Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0020
All you need write is that you support AB 1657, though you are certainly free to say more than that.
Thanks for your help with this!