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Spinal Cord Injury: Progress, Promise, and Priorities
Californians for a Cure. Their efforts galvanized the legislature to authorize up to $2 million annually, which is appropriated as a line item in the state budget. The state funds provided by the legislature are allocated to the University of California Office of the President, which in turn allocates the funds to the Reeve-Irvine Research Center to administer. After the first 5 years, the Roman Reed Research Program has grown to a consortium of 150 researchers across 10 California universities and institutions. Its decentralized structure is similar to that of the center to receive the first grant from the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (see below).
Reeve-Irvine Research Center
The Reeve-Irvine Research Center named for actor Christopher Reeve and philanthropist Joan Irvine Smith, was established in 1998 through a lead gift from Joan Irvine Smith that endowed a chair in spinal cord injury research at the University of California at Irvine and established a research endowment. The mission of the center is to carry out research on injuries to and diseases of the spinal cord that result in paralysis or other loss of neurological function, with the goal of finding treatments.
In addition to the center’s three core faculty whose labs are physically located in the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, scientists and physician scientists at the University of California at Irvine have been recruited to participate in the center’s research and training activities. Currently, there are 15 “center associates” carrying out research on nervous system injury, stroke, and neurodegenerative disorders as well as on basic processes that underlie nervous system development, regeneration, and plasticity. Several center associates are active clinicians as well as scientists, and bring a unique clinical perspective to the Reeve-Irvine Research Center.
Roman Reed Research Grants Program
The Roman Reed Research Program consists of a state-of-the-art core laboratory facility (with a budget of $400,000 per year) and a research grants program, both of which are open to any California-based researcher. The core laboratory, situated in the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, is equipped with animal facilities, dedicated laboratory space, and trained technical personnel who can readily produce uniform and standardized types of spinal cord injuries in rodent models. Most research conducted by the program is basic, but to be funded, it must lend itself to the legislation’s intent: ready translation to finding treatments for spinal cord injuries.
The concept behind the core laboratory is to attract new researchers to the field by making it relatively easy for them to turn their ideas into