A Cure?

"A cure is within reach. Not only will it enable those affected by SCI to reclaim what they've lost, it will protect those yet to fall victim." 

Help on the horizon

Spinal cord injury victims the world over dream of the day they can push their wheelchairs to one side and reclaim their lives. Government has not adequately invested in the SCI curative research field, meaning that funding thus far has mainly been derived from charitable organisations and the injured community themselves.

Walkoncemore will help to fund the most significant advances in the fight against the permanence of chronic spinal cord injury. With a boost in funding, such breakthroughs, when safely possible, can be translated into human clinical trials all the sooner. A cure is now in our midst and, with lessened financial barriers, could become a near-term reality.

The science bit

When an injury is sustained to the spinal cord, it fails to regenerate and heal itself. The main barrier to this regeneration is overcoming the environment of the injured cord. Rapidly becoming hostile post-trauma, said environment inhibits the regrowth and remyelination of nerve fibres (axons). The ability of these fibres to extend beyond the area to which the injury was sustained (the lesion site) is also disrupted.

Neurons and support cells to the nervous system (glia) are also lost due to the initial trauma, and catastrophic change to the cord unfortunately does not end there. Secondary damage will also occur in and around the site of the lesion. This is mainly due to the toxic inflammation which inevitably occurs, and sadly leads to yet further glia and neuron loss. Added to the inability of the axons to reconnect, the result for the individual is a lifetime of severe disability.

To repair an injured spinal cord, the regeneration and remyelination of axons within the cord is essential. Neuronal replacement may also be required, dependent upon the area and severity of the injury. Regeneration is simply regrowth, whilst remyelination is the coating of existing axons in myelin, a fatty insulator which helps nerve impulses to travel.

The approaches

A number of therapies which successfully support the regeneration of axons and neurons have been shown in test models. We now know that around only 10% of pre-injury axons need to be regenerated to support substantial functional recovery. As a matter of priority, this now needs to be translated to humans. Stem cell research is key to the repair of this damage, alongside other approaches including proteins and growth factors for nerve regeneration.

Stem cell research

Stem Cell: (noun)
‘An undifferentiated cell that gives rise to specialised cells, such as blood cells.’

Stem cells come in different types and are derived from various sources. The stem cells used in SCI research are either pluripotent or multipotent, in the main. Pluripotent cells are capable of changing into many specialised types of cell via differentiation. Multipotent cells are also able to differentiate, but the end cell types are more limited.

Sources of stem cells include:

  • Embryonic – pluripotent and derived from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst (a 5-7 day old cluster of cells in early embryonic development)
  • Fetal – pluripotent and derived from the organs of foetuses
  • Umbilical cord - derived from cord blood
  • Adult – mainly multipotent and found throughout the body after embryonic development

Stem cells can be categorised by their ability to differentiate. Pluripotent stem cells can form any of over 200 different cell types found in the body.

There have been multiple press releases about how adult stem cells have ‘cured’ a variety of ills, including spinal cord injury. As things stand, this is simply untrue for SCI. It is therefore vital that research continues using a multitude of cell types until solutions are uncovered.

Being they are pluripotent, embryonic stem cells currently hold the most promise. The media misrepresentation surrounding these cells has resulted in an association with “the killing of human life”. The embryonic stem cell research that Walkoncemore aims to support involves the use of blastocysts. These cells are derived from IVF clinic ‘leftovers’ which would otherwise be destined for waste disposal. That is to say, they were never intended to be implanted into a human womb to develop into a foetus.

In the United States alone, hundreds of thousands of these blastocysts are destroyed each year. These discarded cells can and should instead be utilised for life-saving research.


With your help we can get there

A cure for spinal cord injury is attainable. A reversal of the resulting paralysis and loss of sensation associated with SCI will ease endless pain and suffering worldwide, for millions of injured individuals and their loved ones.

The cost of lifelong care and support for men, women and children affected by SCI runs into billions. An effective therapy will foster the independence needed to live life to the full again. Those who have become needlessly unemployed will be able to support themselves once more, giving rise to a sense of contributing to society rather than 'burdening' it. The many victims who attest to a feeling of merely 'existing' post-injury need no longer feel at a loss. Once found, a cure will positively impact every corner of the globe, making the world a better place for us and future generations besides.

In order to continue our vital work, we really do need your help! There are many ways to show your support and we truly appreciate every last endeavour. If you would like to help us with our mission today, please click here without delay, or alternatively contact us - we would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much in advance – with your support, there really can be a future without chronic spinal cord injury.

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About SCI

A healthy spinal cord is central to a fully functioning human body. It enables the person to move, to feel touch, pressure and temperature...

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A Cure?

Spinal cord injury victims the world over dream of the day they can push their wheelchairs to one side and reclaim their lives...

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Get Involved

Supporters of all ages and abilities can help to raise vital funds for our cause...

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About Us

Walkoncemore was set up to help those currently living with the after-effects of SCI, as well as those yet to be injured...

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