Every 48 minutes, another person in the United States will become paralyzed. That is simply unacceptable. The Miami Project & Buoniconti Fund has made it their mission to advance research towards curing paralysis.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when the spinal cord becomes damaged, most commonly, when motor vehicle accidents, falls, acts of violence, and sporting accidents fracture vertebrae and crush or transect the spinal cord. According to the National SCI Statistical Center (NSCISC), 12,000 new traumatic spinal cord injuries each year in the USA; approximately 80.7% occur in men in the USA. There are also approximately 232,000 to 316,000 people in the USA living with chronic SCI, caused by a trauma, and the average age at the time of injury is 40.7 years old.
In 1985, Barth A. Green, M.D. and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti helped found The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after Nick's son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game. Today, The Miami Project is the world's most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, housed in the Lois Pope LIFE Center, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Miami Project's international team of more than 200 scientists, researchers and clinicians take innovative approaches to the challenge of spinal cord injury.
The goal of the campaign is to ask "Will You Stand Up For Those Who Can't?" The intent is to create a national conversation about the devastation of paralysis, and to bring this condition to the forefront of public awareness.
"Paralysis does not discriminate. People need to realize that paralysis can happen to anyone at any time," said Nick Buoniconti. "But the reality of today's statistics can't be disputed. Every 48 minutes another person in the U.S. will become paralyzed. That is simply unacceptable. Each of us must do what we can to make a difference. I am personally asking you, will you stand up for those who can't and do one or more of the following?"
At the present time, neither Miami Project researchers nor any other scientist can predict when human trials to promote regeneration in the spinal cord will lead to a cure. The steps for moving a discovery from an idea in the laboratory to a treatment that can be tested in human trials are many. Researchers must gather sufficient proof of functional recovery in animal studies to justify the use of a treatment in human trials. They also need to demonstrate that the results can be repeated in independent laboratories and that the treatment works when tested in larger and chronically injured animals. In addition, to test a treatment in clinical trial, the proposed trial needs to be approved by regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The total process is incredibly time consuming and expensive, but it is essential to develop reliable cure therapies that can be used in the greatest number of people with predictable beneficial results.
Each of us must promise to do something to help create a national conversation about what it means to be paralyzed and the urgent need to find this cure. Help spread the word during the month of September to raise awareness for both those deal with a spinal cord injury and to support The Miami Project as the fight to find a cure. You can like their Facebook Page, follow them on Twitter, and even donate! Check out this remarkable video: