• The National Institutes of Health, state programs, and other research organizations should increase funding for training and career development opportunities for graduate and postdoctoral researchers interested in spinal cord injury research.

Strengthen New York State’s Spinal Cord Injury Research Program

Build and Strengthen New York State’s Research Infrastructure (Recommendation 8.1)

The New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Board should increase its research infrastructure to meet the program’s mission. The Board should:

  • develop and sustain a vigorous recruitment and training effort for fundamental and translational research;

  • establish a coordinated statewide research network;

  • cultivate formal linkages with researchers, programs, and biopharmaceutical companies in the region to forge partnerships for basic, translational, and clinical research; and

  • establish regional core laboratory facilities.

Develop a Regional Clinical Trials Center (Recommendation 8.2)

The state of New York should use its unique strengths to establish a regional clinical trials center. This center should:

  • develop and coordinate multicenter clinical trials to examine therapies for the treatment of spinal cord injuries;

  • sponsor a clinical trial of decompression as an early intervention and clinical trials of other therapies to be used during the acute phase of a spinal cord injury by using the special opportunities offered by New York City’s geographic location and the unique resources of its trauma centers; and

  • manage a clinical trials clearinghouse.

Restructure Research Funding and Oversight Processes (Recommendation 8.3)

The New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Board should work with the state of New York to reduce administrative burdens, improve the approval and grant distribution processes, and establish a rapid-response funding mechanism to capitalize on new research ideas.

Ensure Independent Evaluation (Recommendation 8.4)

The New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Board should establish an independent external review panel that meets periodically to rigorously assess the program’s efforts toward its stated mission to cure spinal cord injuries.

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