Craig H. Neilsen Foundation: Spinal Cord Injury Research on the Translational Spectrum (SCIRTS)

The Neilsen Foundation funds projects that are designed to improve and advance current treatments for acute and chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). This portfolio emphasizes SCI (vs. spinal cord disease or related disorders) and is intended to fill gaps in the field and to further develop new strategies to restore function resulting from SCI. The Neilsen Foundation does not intend to provide continuous funding to individual labs but to fund novel research throughout the translational spectrum.

SCIRTS Grants support research projects that include, but are not limited to:
Mechanistic Research, including the development of novel strategies aimed at:

  • Neuroprotection and/or elucidation of the pathological mechanisms that occur after SCI;
  • Pathophysiology of the injured spinal cord;
  • Promotion of neuronal survival, axonal regeneration, synaptogenesis, myelination, and functional connectivity after SCI;
  • Transplantation strategies for SCI recovery;
  • Pharmacological therapies to improve function after SCI;
  • Bioengineering solutions to improve function in persons with SCI; and
  • Chronic SCI treatment and issues related to aging with SCI.

Preclinical, Translational Research that will enable future clinical trials, such as:

  • The effects of SCI and novel interventions on sensory and motor function;
  • Use of preclinical models of SCI to develop interventions to alleviate complications of SCI including bowel, bladder, sexual and other autonomic dysfunctions, respiratory dysfunction, neuropathic pain, pressure sores, osteoporosis and the effects of aging with SCI; and
  • Trial-enabling studies, e.g., to confirm the mechanism of action for novel therapeutics, dosing, toxicity, etc.

Clinical Research, such as:

  • Studies to establish the natural history and progression of functional outcomes over time after SCI;
  • Efforts to develop and validate outcome measures needed to facilitate definitive clinical trials in SCI populations; and
  • Testing of innovative rehabilitation strategies and devices in persons with SCI.