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Developing life-changing treatments

Taking part in a clinical trial

Tara was an accomplished horserider before her accident

Life changing research

A spinal cord injury can happen in a split second, and sometimes the things we love the most can play a part. Tara was a rider with many years experience, but was unfortunately bucked from her horse in 2014, leaving her paralysed from the upper chest down. Read more about Tara's story.

Today Tara is taking part in a Spinal Research funded clinical trial to test a groundbreaking treatment to help cure paralysis.

This study will use electrical stimulation of the spinal cord (neuromodulation) alongside a programme of rehabilitation to test improvement in sensory, motor or autonomic functions.

Conducted in the UK, this trial consists of 120 stimulation sessions combined with physical rehabilitation, with assessments after 20, 40, 80 and 120 sessions. Electrical stimulation is delivered through electrodes on the skin, so as a tetraplegic Tara will receive stimulation in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar areas depending on which exercise is being conducted.

There have already been a number of human trials in the US, Switzerland and the UK using neuromodulation and they have shown participants regain varying degrees of function even years after injury.

These include the ability to stand unaided, the return of bowel, bladder and sexual function, better hand function and, in some cases, even the ability to walk overground with a walker. Such improvements could provide Tara and others with greater independence, as well as boosting her overall health and quality-of-life.

They say that one fall can change your life forever but I believe research can reverse that.

Follow Tara's Progress

Over the coming months Tara will be updating us as she progresses through this trial, providing an insider’s view on her personal experience and sharing her thoughts on her monthly blog.

Funded by you

This is one of a number of programmes funded by Spinal Research. Without government funding, trials like this rely solely on the generosity of our supporters. We have made many breakthroughs in our research - what we need today is the funding to continue and accelerate this promising work into meaningful treatments. We are working hard to make sure that if you, your family or your friends suffer a spinal cord injury as a result of a fall in the future, our research will play a role in your recovery. Whatever your passion, there are always risks… But we believe in a future where paralysis is no longer a life sentence.

Please will you help us continue our vital work today?

The first and foremost thing any research provides for someone in my position is hope. I’m looking forward to playing my part in taking hope through to life changing treatments. Thank you to all those supporters who are helping fund and expand this promising work.