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Spinal Cord Injury Cure One Step Closer

Monday 19 December

Spinal Cord Injury Cure One Step Closer Thanks To New Zealand Charity

The CatWalk Trust has taken another step towards finding a cure for spinal cord injury with the announcement of its first funding allocation today. A total of $50,000 is to be split between two New Zealand based spinal cord injury research projects.

Recently appointed CatWalk Trust CEO Colleen Young says the funding allocations represent an exciting progression for the organisation.

"It's just seven months since the Trust was launched and we're delighted to be allocating our first round of funding to two extremely worthwhile projects," says Colleen.

An Auckland University based team headed up by Dr Simon O'Carroll has been awarded $35,000 to research the reduction of post-injury spinal cord damage.

A team led by Dr Tim Woodfield from the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has been awarded $15,000 to investigate stem cell research to reverse the effects of spinal cord injury.

Auckland University's Dr O'Carroll says the CatWalk funding is a major breakthrough for his work.

"This opportunity provided by the CatWalk Trust will enable us to do research in an area in which we have a strong personal commitment and a genuine belief that we may be able to make a real difference," says Dr O'Carroll.

Dr Tim Woodfield says his organisation is delighted to receive funding from the CatWalk Trust.

"This grant will further our group's work in developing tissue engineering strategies for repairing damaged human tissues," says Dr Woodfield.

The projects that are to receive funding were subjected to a rigorous evaluation process led by one of the country's leading medical research organisations, the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand.

The review process involved the submission of expressions of interest to the Neurological Foundation's Scientific Assessment Committee (SAC). Full applications were then peer reviewed by a panel of international and local experts to assess scientific merit and clinical relevance. Finally, applications were debated and ranked by the SAC, and the top projects recommended for funding.

Launched in May this year, the CatWalk Trust was founded by former New Zealand equestrian international Catriona Williams – herself confined to a wheelchair following a riding accident.

The majority of funds were raised at a black tie event attended by royal patron Zara Phillips in Auckland in June.

The Trust also has local support from high profile sporting greats Sir Brian Lochore, Dion Nash, Aaron Slight and Lance O'Sullivan.


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