Recommendation 3.2: Improve and Standardize Research Tools and Assessment Techniques
Preclinical research tools and animal models should be developed and refined to examine spinal cord injury progression and repair and assess the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. These preclinical tools and assessment protocols should be standardized for each type and each stage of spinal cord injury. Particular emphasis should be placed on:
improving imaging technologies to allow real-time assessment of the current state and progression of the injury;
identifying biomarkers that can be used to monitor the progression of the injury and recovery;
developing additional animal models to explore the progression of spinal cord injury and repair;
establishing standardized sets of functional outcome measures for the evaluation of experimental therapies for each type and each stage of spinal cord injury in animal models; and
enhancing functional assessment techniques to examine motor function as well as secondary complications, including pain and depression of the immune system.
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