Faculty of medicine researchers have recently received more than $5 million in funding from the United States Department of Defense Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP).
Drs. Brian Kwon and Babak Shadgan, both faculty members in the department of orthopaedics, have been awarded a $3.7 million USD grant to conduct a clinical trial evaluating a novel implantable biosensor based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) technology, developed to monitor oxygenation and blood flow status of the injured spinal cord.
The sensor will be implanted on the injury site at the time of surgery and provide clinicians with real-time physiological information to optimize hemodynamics management of the injured spinal cord at the acute phase of injury.
This “bench-to-bedside” translation of the optical sensor technology has been developed at the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) and tested in experimental settings for the past 4 years.
SCIRP has also awarded Dr. Kwon and Dr. Christopher West, an associate professor in UBC’s department of cellular and physiological sciences and principal investigator at ICORD, a $1.65 million USD grant to continue their work in investigating the acute effects of spinal cord injury on cardiac function.
Their research, published last fall in Nature Communications, explores how the cardiac responses to acute injury could be modified to improve perfusion to the injured spinal cord. Outcomes of this work may lead to a change in the way newly injured patients have their blood pressure managed, and potentially improve their chances of retaining more function in the long term.
A version of this story originally appeared on the department of orthopaedics website.