Networking in London

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All spinal cord research foundations have one common goal: they are committed to finding new treatment options for people with spinal cord injury.  This mission is one which Wings for Life is committed to and is shared by the ISRT (International Spinal Research Trust, UK).

In September 2015, the annual science network meeting of ISRT took place in London and Wings for Life was invited along to the two day event. The focus of the meeting was to bring together scientists who work in the field of spinal cord injury offering a platform for researchers (both young and well-established) to discuss basic research, clinics and to exchange information about the area.

Sessions during the two day meeting addressed important topics in the field on SCI. The first focused on the effects of spinal cord injury on the immune system and the implication for recovery. In another session strategies for targeting acute spinal cord injury and neuroprotection that could lead to better outcomes for the patients were also discussed. The stem cell session of the meeting addressed the question ‘Are we ready for clinical trials using stem cells for spinal cord injury?’ before also addressing the progress and pitfalls in stem cell clinical trials. Other central topics of the scientific discussion were the role of remyelination after SCI, methods of genetic manipulation that are suitable for clinical translation and clinically feasible approaches for combinatorial therapies.

The meeting also provided the opportunity to talk about existing and planned collaborations between the foundations, something which is necessary to provide support for bigger research projects or studys who can´t be funded by just one foundation. By joining forces, foundations can support and accelerate scientific development.