Archive for the ‘Working 2 Walk’ Category

The Devil is in the Details

September 27, 2011

With less than 3 weeks to go until the Working 2 Walk Science & Advocacy Symposium, my head is spinning with the endless details that need to be addressed.  Making sure everyone is registered properly, compiling and proofreading the event program, keeping the website updated, communicating with our attendees and supporters, talking with the hotel about catering and audio/visual requirements, and the list goes on – connecting all the dots keeps W2W on my mind 24/7.

Everybody should take a turn at event organizing at some point, if just to gain an appreciation of the minutiae that need attention every step of the way.  I’d venture to say there are similarities with trying to get the nervous system re-organized after a spinal cord injury.  Talk about connecting the dots!

Laboratory research has produced a number of theories about the best way to go about restoring function lost to paralysis.  Our current real-time therapies include adaptive equipment, intensive exercise, electrical stimulation (FES), and locomotor training, all of which have shown the ability to enhance recovery.  To date, though, none of these could be considered a cure.

At Working 2 Walk we will hear a variety of theories about the best way to go about achieving curative therapies, including:

  • nerve bridging enhanced by chondroitinase to promote regeneration;
  • the use of biomaterials as part of drug and cell therapy treatments;
  • the role of neuroplasticity in repairing the nervous system;
  • lab results and the first stage of clinical trials using different cell therapies.

Slowly but surely we are assembling the pieces of the puzzle that will one day fit together and provide answers to the complex problem of curing paralysis.  As one scientist said to me a few years ago, “Most people believe that cell therapies will offer solutions for people with SCI; the devil is in the details.”

Why Working 2 Walk

July 29, 2011

Last week U2FP announced our lineup of confirmed speakers for this year’s Working 2 Walk Science & Advocacy Symposium.  It’s an impressive group and features the names of scientists and business leaders who have been making news in the world of SCI cure research over the past year.

Back in 2006 when we organized our first conference, we had no idea whether anybody would come.  But as we started planning, we gave a lot of thought to picking an appropriate name.  We didn’t call it “Wishing 2 Walk” or “Hoping 2 Walk” or “Dreaming 2 Walk”; we chose “Working 2 Walk”, because we believed that people living with a spinal cord injury could roll up their sleeves and contribute to the cure effort.

Our purpose at W2W is to bring together all of the stakeholders in the march toward cures and create opportunities to exchange knowledge, strategies, and priorities.  Our research scientists continue to work hard at solving neurological problems at a molecular level.  Biotechs have begun to invest in promising science and the clinical trial process that will bring it to market.  A handful of advocates are opening the doors of communication that will hopefully lead to enlightened decisions on the part of policymakers.

If you’re sitting in your wheelchair wanting your healthy body back, you may be thinking that none of this is happening fast enough.  You’re right, but unfortunately, bringing cures to reality is not just about the science.  It’s just as much about the financial and regulatory hurdles that must be overcome, and I think this is where patient advocates have a real opportunity to make a difference.  We’ll talk about how at Working 2 Walk.

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