Washington State Spinal Cord Injury Consortium (WASCIC)
What is WASCIC?
The Washington State legislature dedicated $400,000 per year for the 2017-18 budget biennium to advance spinal cord injury research in Washington State. This has established the Washington State Spinal Cord Injury Consortium (WASCIC), administered by the Center forNeurotechnology (CNT), based at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Mission and vision
The mission of the WASCIC is to enable improved function for persons with chronic spinal cord injury. Our vision is that focused investment will lead to advances in spinal cord injury treatments in Washington State and accelerate progress toward restoration of function after injury.
Restoring upper extremity function
Stimulation of the spinal cord may induce the growth and reorganization of neural pathways leading to the re-animation of paralyzed limbs. Growing evidence indicates that electrical spinal cord stimulation improves motor functions immediately via modulating the excitability of spinal circuitry in patients with spinal cord injury. Recently, a novel, non-invasive, well-tolerated and painless transcutaneous electrical stimulation strategy was demonstrated to be effective for improving lower limb motor function in healthy individuals and in patients with spinal cord injury. Learn more.
Improving lower limb function
Growing evidence indicates that electrical spinal cord stimulation improves motor functions both immediately and over the long term via modulating the excitability of spinal circuitry in patients with spinal cord injury. Recently, a novel, non-invasive, well-tolerated and painless lumbosacral transcutaneous electrical stimulation strategy was demonstrated to be effective for improving lower limb motor function in participants with spinal cord injury. Learn more.
Increasing blood flow to the spinal cord
Critically reduced blood flow to the contused spinal cord is thought to contribute significantly to additional secondary tissue damage and poor functional recovery. This research aims to delineate mechanisms underlying local hypoperfusion and to develop treatment strategies to restore physiological blood flow to the injured spinal cord. Learn more.
Deepening understanding of the spinal cord
Recently, transcutaneous stimulation of the cervical spinal cord in combination with intensive physical therapy has shown promise as an effective treatment for deficits in hand motor function after spinal cord injury. However, it is difficult to explore a broad range of possible stimulation parameters and to investigate underlying mechanisms in human subjects. Such inquiries will be helpful to refine the clinical therapy and effectively combine it with other treatments, such as pharmacological or, in the future, cellular replacement interventions. In this study, researchers are developing a rat model of transcutaneous electrical stimulation for rehabilitation of forelimb movements after spinal cord injury. Learn more.
Exploring new pain management techniques
This study examines the efficacy, safety and satisfaction of hypnotic cognitive therapy delivered via telehealth compared to in-person for individuals with chronic spinal cord injury pain. Participants in this study are Washington residents 21 and over with a diagnosis of spinal cord injury and experiencing moderate to severe chronic pain. Learn more.