Emphasize and Coordinate Translational Multidisciplinary Research and Clinical Trials

Facilitate Clinical Trials (Recommendation 6.1)

Mechanisms should be implemented that will facilitate the implementation of clinical trials while observing the established standards for the protection of human subjects in clinical research, including:

  • coordinating existing facilities and resources in acute care, chronic care, and rehabilitation to support multicenter clinical trials,

  • utilizing central institutional review board mechanisms,

  • coordinating and expanding patient registries and databases to improve mechanisms to conduct clinical trials and facilitate patient recruitment,

  • developing a set of standardized clinical outcome measures, and

  • designing clinical trials that are a multidisciplinary effort and should incorporate, as appropriate, small “n” methodologies for early-phase clinical trials.

Increase Industry Involvement (Recommendation 6.2)

Mechanisms should be explored that can be used to link federal, state, academic, and nonprofit efforts with those of industry with the goal of increasing the investment and involvement of the private sector in the development of therapeutic interventions for spinal cord injuries.

Strengthen the Research Infrastructure and Enhance Training

Establish Spinal Cord Injury Research Centers of Excellence (Recommendation 7.2)

The National Institutes of Health should designate and support five to seven Spinal Cord Injury Research Centers of Excellence with adequate resources to sustain multidisciplinary basic, translational, and clinical research on spinal cord injuries.

Establish a National Spinal Cord Injury Research Network (Recommendation 7.3)

The National Institutes of Health should be appropriately funded to establish a National Spinal Cord Injury Research Network that would coordinate and support the work of an expanded cadre of researchers.

Increase Training and Career Development Opportunities (Recommendation 7.4)

Resources should be designated to strengthen education programs for pre-and postdoctoral training in spinal cord injury research.

  • The National Institutes of Health Office of Science Education and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke should enhance training and develop a training module on the functional complexity of the spinal cord for neuroscience Ph.D. and medical students.

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