Proposal to Extend Spinal Cord Research Funding Introduced

Spinal cord injuries are among the most debilitating injuries, often rendering sufferers immobile or without the use of their extremities. The Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 2005—named after football player Roman Reed who suffered a serious spinal cord injury—was created to fund spinal cord injury research at the University of California and is currently up for renewal.

Thus far, the act has funded more than 120 research projects, resulting in a tremendous aggregation of research data and potentially useful information.

Committee Members Push for Renewal

Alberto Torrico of the California Assembly Health Committee seeks to continue to get fund this research for an additional five years. He hopes that by promoting the exchange of ideas as well as the search for new treatment options, medical professionals will one day be able to better treat and care for spinal cord injuries.

There are numerous theories about the treatment of spinal cord damage, including the potential value of stem cells for this purpose. According to some articles, stem cell treatments have been used successfully to help heal spinal cord injuries in rats. This success has led many researchers and experts to believe that human embryonic stem cells may also be beneficial for human treatment as well.

However, stem cell research is still somewhat controversial, which may have a negative impact on Torrico's desire to continue funding research at UC. If the public is concerned about the ethical aspects of using stem cell research, there is a possibility that the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act will indeed expire.

Thousands of Americans suffer from spinal cord injuries, and the lack of viable treatment options concerns medical professionals the world over. With proper funding, the act can create opportunities for more development and advanced treatment options.