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Mind and Brain
27 September, 2015

SA researchers pursue spinal treatment for motor vehicle accident victims

Mind and Brain

The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute has received a $250,000 State Government grant to find revolutionary solutions to spinal cord injuries from vehicle accidents.

Minister for Health Jack Snelling said the Lifetime Support Authority awarded six South Australian research teams with funding, as part of its inaugural research grant program.

“This research program has dedicated $500,000 to foster high-quality treatment and support for people catastrophically injured in motor vehicle accidents,” Mr Snelling said.

“The grants back researchers to study a diverse range of areas, which have the potential to benefit people who sustain serious injuries including paraplegia, quadriplegia or brain injuries.

“The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute will use its grant to study innovative solutions to positron emission tomography scanning of spinal cord injuries.

“In partnership with the Neil Sachse Foundation, the research will utilise a cyclotron, or particle accelerator, located at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. 

“The technology focuses on spinal cord inflammation and may lead to improved scanning of affected areas, better surgical intervention and improved patient outcomes,” Mr Snelling said. 

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Executive Director, Professor Steve Wesselingh, said the grant will assist with Project Discovery.

“Project Discovery is a partnership between the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Neil Sachse Foundation - it demonstrates the benefits that can be achieved through collaboration,” Mr Wesselingh said. 

“The team includes neuroscience, radiochemistry, imaging, and spinal cord injury experts. This collaboration will provide superior health outcome evaluations for spinal cord injury patients.” 

Neil Sachse Foundation founder Neil Sachse said Project Discovery is a cutting edge research project designed to revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of spinal cord injury.

“The benefits of this breakthrough research are profoundly important to those who suffer spinal chord injuries across Australia and the world,” Mr Sachse said. 

"The State Government $250,000 grant is a significant contribution and will assist the Neil Sachse Foundation in reaching its $1 million fundraising target." 

"Once fully funded, Project Discovery will revolutionise the global diagnosis and treatment of spinal cord injury, and will ensure these solutions are available by 2020." 

“South Australia is a leader in devising and delivering global-first research - this project has the potential to change thousands of lives each year."?

Other successful grants were awarded to: 

  • The University of South Australia for their project which will explore client and caregiver perspectives to inform best practice; 

  • Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre and the Royal Adelaide Hospital for their study tapping into technology available for individuals with tetraplegia; 

  • The Flinders University for their study to support people with complex trauma injuries and their families to maximise participation through community mobility;

  • The University of Adelaide for their project to develop a preliminary trial of an on-line vocational program for adults with spinal cord injury; and

  • Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre and their project exploring education addressing recognition of the signs of brain injury related fatigue.

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