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Thread: Bionic hopes for spinal cord fix...

  1. #1
    Senior Member TEION's Avatar
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    Bionic hopes for spinal cord fix...


    Bionic hopes for spinal cord fix
    By Heather Gallagher
    February 21, 2003

    THE inventor of the bionic ear believes similar technology may be used to enable paraplegics to walk again.

    Professor Graeme Clark says he is ready to "dream the impossible dream" again.

    His renewed research efforts, in conjunction with the University of Wollongong, will concentrate on spinal cord injuries.

    Celebrating the 25th anniversary of his invention today at the Melbourne Bionic Ear Institute, Professor Clark claimed that medical science may also be able to repair spinal cord injuries.

    "The bionic ear has enabled deaf children to talk," Professor Clark said.


    "Our aim is to enable paraplegics to walk."

    The plan is to insert "smart plastic" - a honeycomb of chemicals which can be manipulated - into the severed part of the spine creating a bridge between the damaged nerves.

    Scientists hope to put proteins onto the plastic and manipulate it to link the damaged spinal tissue, enabling movement messages to get through to the brain.

    Professor Clark said there was also a possibility that stem cells taken from the nose of the patient could be put into the smart plastic.

    "In this way we aim to control the growth of the nerves from the top to the bottom to restore the motor nerves," he said.

    "This would be the first vital step to enable people with paraplegia and quadriplegia to walk and wave again."

    Professor Clark and his team are about to trial inserting the smart plastics and nose stem cells into the spines of guinea pigs.

    The professor said it could take five to 10 years to develope the technology to give movement to spinal injury patients.

    He said funding was essential and made a special plea to government to support the project.

    "When I started with the bionic ear research it was pie in the sky, severely criticised - and we now know it works wonderfully well," he said.

    "With the spinal cord it's an equally great challenge but there are strong indicators now that it will work."

    The chairman of Paraquad Australia, Cliff Wise, who has been a quadraplegic for 16 years, said Professor Clark had made him believe walking was "achievable".

  2. #2
    Senior Member Red_1 Canada's Avatar
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    I'm giving this guy all my money.
    5-10 years sounds better then 1-20.

    Sorry Wise

    Just kidding,
    Seriously this souds promising!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Schmeky's Avatar
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    Red-1-Canada,

    I agree, in fact, could Teion find how to contact the research group so I can send a donation? I can send $500.00 immediately this month with more to follow. I am simply amazed at the research, dedication, and self sacrifice the Aussies are making in SCI. They will solve the problem with less money than the US ever dreamt possible.

  4. #4

  5. #5
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    AUSTRALIAN BIONIC EAR INVENTOR WANTS TO MAKE PARAPLEGICS WALK

    AUSTRALIAN BIONIC EAR INVENTOR WANTS TO MAKE PARAPLEGICS WALK

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Story Filed: Thursday, February 20, 2003 11:42 PM EST

    MELBOURNE, Feb 21, 2003 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- The inventor of bionic ear fame believes similar technology may be used to enable paraplegics to walk again.

    Professor Graeme Clark (Graeme Clark) says he is ready to "dream the impossible dream" again.

    His renewed research efforts, in conjunction with the University of Wollongong, will concentrate on spinal cord injuries.

    Celebrating the 25th anniversary of his invention today at the Melbourne Bionic Ear Institute, Prof Clark claimed that medical science may also be able to repair spinal cord injuries.

    "The bionic ear has enabled deaf children to talk," Professor Clark said.

    "Our aim is to enable paraplegics to walk."

    The plan is to insert "smart plastic" - a honeycomb of chemicals which can be manipulated - into the severed part of the spine creating a bridge between the damaged nerves.

    Scientists hope to put proteins onto the plastic and manipulate it to link the damaged spinal tissue, enabling movement messages to get through to the brain.

    Prof Clark said there was also a possibility that stem cells taken from the nose of the patient could be put into the smart plastic.

    "In this way we aim to control the growth of the nerves from the top to the bottom to restore the motor nerves," he said.

    "This would be the first vital step to enable people with paraplegia and quadriplegia to walk and wave again."

    Prof Clark and his team are about to trial inserting the smart plastics and nose stem cells into the spines of guinea pigs.

    The professor said it could take five to ten years to develop the technology to give movement to spinal injury patients.

    He said funding was essential and made a special plea to government to support the project.

    "When I started with the bionic ear research it was pie in the sky, severely criticised - and we now know it works wonderfully well," he said.

    "With the spinal cord it's an equally great challenge but there are strong indicators now that it will work."

    The chairman of Paraquad Australia, Cliff Wise, who has been a quadriplegic for 16 years, said Prof Clark had made him believe walking was "achievable".


    (C) 2003 Asia Pulse Pte Ltd

    INDUSTRY KEYWORD: Technology Health/Pharmaceuticals


    Copyright © 2003, Asia Pulse, all rights reserved.


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