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Translational Tools

Promoting collaboration and expediting discoveries

Translational Tools

The criteria used to define translational projects is somewhat loose and certainly not definitive. But in general, and for our purposes, projects in this translational region of the spectrum are pre-clinical evaluations of an identifiable experimental treatment or platform. In this sense, they relate to some of the studies mentioned elsewhere on our website regarding neuroplasticity, neuromodulation, and bladder, bowel and sexual function, such as Dr Ichiyama and Professor Bradbury's work. 

What You're Funding

Moreover, though, alongside our myriad active projects - be they basic or clinical - we also have aided a number of initiatives to support translation. The Open Data Commons, SCI Trials, and INSPIRED are all examples of such projects that have collaboration and progression at their core.

This exciting work could pave the way to develop objective imaging biomarkers enabling research in regeneration and repair strategies for spinal cord injury

Professor Michael Fehlings, Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto, Head of Spinal Program

The Open Data Commons

The Open Data Commons for Spinal Cord Injury is the world’s first partially curated data resource that brings together all research produced on spinal cord injury, both basic and clinical data, including that which has not previously been published for any number of reasons.

This is an important step in accelerating progress in research through collaboration and transparency, enabling pooled data analysis and enhanced translational effects. It is so important because having access to all data – even that deemed negative – is vital when it comes to guiding further research.

For instance, if a trial yields unsuccessful results it is unlikely that it will get published. It is possible – as has happened in other fields – that the same trial is then unsuccessfully run again and again by different researchers under slightly different circumstances. If the first trial was made public then vital knowledge, time, resources, and funds would have been available elsewhere. is a new online database that allows users to find past, present, and future spinal cord injury clinical trials easily and accurately.

Spinal Research is proud to have supported the initiative from the outset; we remain excited about the important role this will play in aiding the spinal cord injury (SCI) community, and bringing innovation, therapies, and new procedures closer to those most affected.

Previously, those interested in finding a relevant clinical trial would have had to search through those relating to every single medical problem in the hopes of finding one that involves SCI. This task would then have to be repeated on a regular basis with no guarantee of luck.

Here, the website presents trials that are sourced from legitimate hospitals, universities, and research centres, while the database is continually being updated based on the feedback provided as well.


Imaging for the spinal cord is far behind comparable imaging techniques such as that done on the brain, for instance. This study, INSPIRED (ImagiNg SPInal cord injury and assessing its pREDictive value), is a quantifiable multi-centre spinal cord neuro-imaging project.

The INSPIRED study aims to develop an improved way of imaging the spinal cord and brain via MRI scan. This improved imagery will capture information that will enhance diagnosis, prognosis, and potentially aid in decision making for treatment and rehabilitation for people with a spinal cord injury.

Spinal Research played an important role funding the two important papers that sparked the field initially, those published by Dr Claudia Wheeler and Dr Julien Cohen-Adad; and our initial and continued support has helped drive the growth of spinal cord MRI protocols.

The clinical part of the study will take place in two international locations, Zurich and Toronto, with MRI experts from other countries being involved in the analysis. The research will use scanners from three different manufacturers and will be the first of its kind to systematically assess and seek to overcome scanner variability.

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