Conquer Paralysis Now

Conquer Paralysis Now Announces $400,000 in New Grants to Researchers Working to Cure Paralysis

$1.1 million awarded in first two rounds of 10-year CPN Challenge

PRINCETON, N.J. (Sept. 20, 2016) — Conquer Paralysis Now (CPN), a leading authority on spinal-cord injury and paralysis, today announced it has awarded $400,000in grants to winners of the second round of the Conquer Paralysis Now Challenge, a 10-year effort to accelerate cures for paralysis and related complications. CPN has awarded $1.1 million in grants in the first two rounds of the Challenge.

“The winners of the second round of CPN Challenge funding are doing exciting work in a variety of fields related to paralysis, from restoring lost function for people living with paralysis to regenerating spinal cords and reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Sam Schmidt, a former Indy Car driver and the Founder and Chairman of CPN, who was paralyzed in a crash during a testing run in 2000. “Thanks to the support of our individual and corporate donors, we’re able to fuel innovative research that gets us closer to our goal of finding a cure for paralysis.”

CPN awarded six grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 in Stage 1, Round 2 of the Challenge from a pool of 81 applications representing 74 institutions from around the world:

  • The Lone Star Paralysis Foundation Collaboration Award funds interdisciplinary collaborations with at least two labs in two different fields collaborating on the project. Recipients: Susan Cerqueira (University of Miami Miller School of Medicine — The Miami Project To Cure Paralysis), who is exploring ways to improve the survival rates for transplanted Schwann cells, which have been shown to reduce degeneration and promote regeneration of the central nervous system when implanted into the spinal cord.
  • The Collaboration Award funds interdisciplinary collaborations with at least two labs in two different fields collaborating on the project. Recipients: Vincent Truong (University of Minnesota Department of Neurosurgery), who wants to create a 3D-printed spinal-cord scaffold with embedded human cells capable of regenerating injured spinal cords.
  • The Translation Award funds projects that aim to translate research from animal experiments toward human clinical trials. Recipient: V. Reggie Edgerton (UCLA Department of Neurosurgery), who aims to address one of the most important quality-of-life issues for people with spinal-cord injury by enhancing bladder function. This novel, noninvasive spinal-cord stimulation strategy will help manage a healthy lower urinary track, preserve kidney function and promote timely emptying of the bladder.
  • The Crossover Award incentivizes the crossover of adjacent neurological research to the field of spinal-cord injury. Recipient: Wolfram Tetzlaff (University of British Columbia, International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries), whose promising work on Alzheimer’s disease is leading to new ways to reverse brain-circuitry degeneration associated with many forms of paralysis.
  • The New Investigator Award supports newly hired researchers who began their careers in spinal-cord injury research after their graduate studies, or established researchers who recently transitioned to specializing in the spinal-cord injury field. Recipient: Martin Pouw (Radboud University Hospital in Nijmegen, Netherlands, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Acute Spinal Cord Unit), who is studying the body’s response to traumatic spinal-cord injuries in the immediate aftermath of the injury and treatment to determine which early medical interventions have the most demonstrable effects in promoting recovery.
  • The Michael Fux Foundation Reaching & Grasping Award recognizes projects that drive progress towards restoring reaching and grasping function for human spinal-cord injury patients. Recipient: Milapjit S. Sandhu (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), who is experimenting with new ways to alter spinal circuitry to boost the efficacy of physical therapy for patients who have experienced impairment of arm and hand functions as the result of a partial spinal-cord injury.

The CPN Challenge Program was developed and created by CPN and partner InnoCentive to find a cure for paralysis by driving the development of treatments to help paralyzed patients regain everyday functions, such as standing, reaching and grasping, bowel and bladder control and sexual function.

“It is encouraging that so many researchers and scientists are as determined as we are to find a cure,” said Craig Williams, Executive Director at CPN. “Our ability to continue to fund the Challenge grant awards and the prize awards is dependent on the philanthropic support we receive from individual and corporate donors, as well as from private foundations. We are extremely grateful to everyone who is supporting us today and welcome others to join us in our efforts.”

For more information about Conquer Paralysis Now, the grant recipients’ research or to submit a research proposal, visit www.conquerparalysisnow.org.

About Conquer Paralysis Now

Conquer Paralysis Now is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to cure paralysis. The organization is leading the effort for a cure by funding scientific research, medical treatment and technological advances benefiting those paralyzed by spinal-cord injuries, stroke or diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other medical conditions and diseases. For more information, visit www.conquerparalysisnow.org.