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Vol. 40 No. 4, July/August 2003, Supplement
Pages UPDATE — 28

From the bench to the body: Key issues associated with research aimed at a cure for SCI

Marca L. Sipski, MD
Veterans Administration Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence in Spinal Cord Injury; South Florida Model SCI System; The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Abstract — Significant advances have been made in the study of neuroprotection and neural regeneration following spinal cord injury (SCI). However, there is wide variability in the animal models used for these studies. Moreover, there is no consensus on which outcome measures are best used to document recovery in animals. On top of these issues, the transfer of research from the laboratory into clinical trials is also hampered by a lack of sensitive outcome measures to document the recovery of function in humans with SCIs. This paper identifies specific issues related to the transfer of research findings from animals into humans. In the laboratory, these issues include the choice of animal model and outcome measures selected; and in humans, the standardization of medical treatment and other therapies, patient selection, and the outcome measures chosen. In the transfer of research from animals into humans, safety and feasibility issues must also be considered.
Key words: basic science, clinical trials, spinal cord injury (SCI), translational research.
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