The NSW Government today announced $2.5 million funding for research into spinal cord injury and other debilitating disorders of the nervous system.
Minister for Science and Medical Research Jodi McKay said the funding is part of the State Government's Spinal Cord Injury and Related Neurological Conditions Research Grants Program established in 2003 following a visit to Sydney by the late Christopher Reeve.
"This funding will go towards a number of initiatives to advance the rehabilitation and repair of spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions," Ms McKay said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Spinal Cord Injury Network, Dr Stephanie Williams welcomed the announcement.
"We congratulate the State Government for their ongoing support for the Network and their commitment to investing in spinal cord research.
"SCIN will work with the NSW Government to grow our research and development capacity, including furthering collaboration between states and territories," Dr Williams said.
Ms McKay said more than 10,000 people are living with spinal cord injuries in Australia, with an average of around one person a day suffering a spinal cord injury and the total cost estimated to be $2 billion annually.
"Spinal cord injuries have devastating and lifelong consequences, and tragically most often affect young people, usually the consequence of car accidents, falls or sporting activities, with the highest incidence in males aged 15-24 years.
"The NSW Government is committed to investing in science and medical research that helps people living with spinal cord injuries and related conditions to recover or improve their quality of life, and has invested almost $22 million in the program since 2003.
"A major part of our ongoing support has been the creation of a national network for spinal cord injury research and its translation.
"The Spinal Cord Injury Network (SCI-N), which receives most of its operational and outreach funding from the NSW Government, has more than 900 individual members and 40 member organizations from Australia and New Zealand.
"The funding will also be used to establish new research fellowships and clinical trials coordinators to research that will have impact across a range of conditions, including Motor Neurone Disease.
"Medical research in this area is revolutionizing treatment for people with spinal cord injuries and related conditions, who until recently would have had no or limited options available.
"NSW is already home to a number of leading scientists and clinicians pursuing treatments and cures for spinal cord injuries and related conditions, and this funding will put NSW at the forefront of research in the area," Ms McKay said.
For more information on the Spinal Cord Injury and Related Neurological Conditions Research Grants Program go to www.osmr.nsw.gov.au or for more information on the Spinal Cord Injury Network go to www.spinalnetwork.org.au
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