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.