Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center to host "curing and coping with spinal cord injury," a symposium and fundraiser

November 28, 2000

Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center is hosting a symposium and fund raising event for spinal cord injury research on Thursday, Nov. 30 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Field Museum. A silent auction will be held throughout the evening and a live auction will take place after the symposium. Individual tickets are $100 and all proceeds will be directed to the Jane Carvey Spinal Cord Research Fund at Rush. Jane Carvey is a Chicago occupational therapist who suffered a major spinal cord injury in 1999. Her husband, Paul Carvey, PhD, Rush chairman of pharmacology, is a pharmacologist and researcher studying potential treatments for Parkinson's Disease.

The symposium "Curing and Coping with Spinal Cord Injury," will feature world leaders in the field of spinal cord injury and repair and will include a panel presentation by patients and family members who will speak about their experiences coping with spinal cord injury.

Symposium speakers and schedule are as follows:

6 p.m. Cocktails

6:45 pm to 6:50 p.m.
Welcome and Introduction
Jeffrey Kordower, PhD
Professor of Neurological Sciences and director of the Research Center for Brain Repair at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center

6:50 pm to 7:10 pm

Paul Carvey, PhD, chairman of the department of Pharmacology and professor of Neurological Sciences, at Rush and Jane Carvey
Coping With Spinal Cord Injury - A Patient's Perspective
The focus of this component of the symposium is to provide the audience with first hand knowledge of how patients with spinal cord injuries (SCI) survive and go on to live with their injuries. A panel of patients with SCIs will discuss how their accidents affected their lives and those of their families in the months following the injury. The panel will then discuss how they have learned to overcome their disability while living their lives on wheels . The majority of patients with SCIs occur in younger individuals (between ages 15 and 25) yet a significant number of older patients (between ages 35 and 50) become confined to a wheel chair as well. The impact of age at injury on the coping process and also how age affects the individual's ability to overcome their disability will also be discussed.

7:10 pm to 7:30 pm

Dr. Roy Bakay, M.D., director of Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center
Technological Advances - Thinking Movement
Bakay will discuss the results of an investigative study that looked at whether implanted neurotrophic electrodes in severely debilitated patients can transmit brain signals that result in movement.

7:30 pm to 7:50 pm

Dr. Mark H. Tuszynski, University of California at San Diego Preclinical Research and Spinal Cord Repair Mechanisms
Recent research has shown that partial growth of new connections can be achieved in the spinal cord after injury. Experimental approaches to promoting recovery of neural connections include the provision of nervous system "growth factors" to sites of spinal cord injury, gene therapy, the placement of peripheral nerve "bridges" in injury sites, and the use of stem cells. To various degrees, these experimental approaches have shown that injured axons can re-grow, and can sometimes restore partial functional recovery in animals. Although a number of challenges remain to be addressed before these techniques can be tested in humans, there is a growing sense that clinically practical approaches for improving function will result in human clinical trials in the next several years.

7:50 pm to 8:10 pm

Dr. Richard Fessler, director, Chicago Spine Institute Recent Developments in Caring for Spinal Cord Injuries

While he was at the University of Florida, Dr. Fessler and his team embarked on the first human experiment in the world to treat spinal cord injury with spinal cord transplantation in 1998. This experiment was designed to evaluate the safety and feasibility of treating post-traumatic syringomyelia (a condition in which cysts develop in the injured spinal cord) in spinal cord injured patients with transplantation of spinal cord tissue into their cysts. The hope was to demonstrate that spinal cord tissue could be safely transplanted into the injured spinal cord and that it would live and grow within the cyst, and that the growth of the cyst could be arrested by this transplantation.

Rush University Medical Center

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