AOSpine North America Awarded a Research Grant from the Rick Hansen Institute.

29. April 2014

AOSpine North America is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a research grant by The Rick Hansen Institute to develop a set of MRI-based Biomarkers in Patients with Acute Spinal Cord Injury. AOSpine North America, an academic organization devoted to excellence in research, education, innovation and community outreach will be conducting this study over the course of the next two years.

The Rick Hansen Institute is a Canadian not-for-profit organization whose mission is to foster greater collaboration across the spinal cord injury (SCI) community and to accelerate progress towards a cure for paralysis after SCI. It is based at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre in Vancouver, B.C – an 11,000 square metre world-class facility that brings together 300-plus spine clinicians, researchers and other specialists under one roof, where they can collaborate to discover and implement novel treatments and approaches into improved outcomes, independence and quality of life for people living with SCI. Funding for this research grant was made possible by contributions from Western Economic Diversification Canada.

This research effort will run as an addendum to the existing currently enrolling phase II/III clinical trial titled “A Multi-Center, Randomized, Placebo Controlled, Double-Blinded, Trial of Efficacy and Safety of Riluzole in Acute Spinal Cord Injury”, also known as the RISCIS trial. The study will be led by Dr. Michael Fehlings, Chairman of AOSpine North America, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto and Halbert Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, Toronto Western Hospital. The Co-Principal Investigators include Drs. Bizhan Aarabi (University of Maryland), Shekar Kurpad (Medical College of Wisconsin) and Brian Kwon (University of British Columbia). Krembil Neurocience Centre is Canada's largest combined clinical, educational and research neuroscience unit.

The study will use advanced MRI technology in the RISCIS trial to assess whether Riluzole will positively affect length of lesion (LOL), and if LOL can be used as a surrogate outcome measure to predict function outcome at six months post injury. Further, the study aims to investigate the clinical value of high cervical DTI, rostral to the injury site, as a noninvasive imaging biomarker for spinal cord injury.

We appreciate The Rick Hansen Institute’s generous grant award and value the opportunity to collaborate with the institute’s team of professionals in order to move forward clinical discoveries in the field of acute spinal cord injury.

To learn more about the RISCIS study, including a list of sites currently open for enrollment, I encourage you to visit or contact