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Message from the Scientific Director

Drs. Barth A. Green, W. Dalton Dietrich and Allan D. Levi
Drs. Barth A. Green, W. Dalton Dietrich and Allan D. Levi

Exciting progress is being made daily at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Over 200 scientists and investigators are conducting cutting edge basic science research, translational and clinical investigations targeting brain and spinal cord injury. This year, several neuroscience discoveries are providing new treatment strategies for successfully treating people with neurological disorders.

This success results from a proven bench-to-bedside approach that promotes the successful advancement of novel ideas and experimental treatments. Miami Project initiated clinical trials are underway showing safety and efficacy using neuroprotective and reparative approaches. A new multicenter therapeutic hypothermia clinical trial will treat acutely injured patients with severe spinal cord injury. This trial which is based on research done at the Miami Project and the Department of Neurological Surgery could provide the necessary data to establish new medical guide lines for the use of targeted temperature management in all patients with acute spinal cord injury.

In the area of reparative medicine and axonal regeneration, trials utilizing cellular therapies combined with innovative neurorehabilitation strategies and robotic devices to improve function are underway. Our initial human Schwann cell trial has been completed and published in a leading scientific journal for all investigators to read. A new trial that targets chronic spinal cord injury is currently evaluating Schwann cell transplantation in combination with an extensive rehabilitation protocol. The devastating consequence of peripheral nerve injury are also being treated with a combinational bridging and cell therapy strategy that is producing real benefits in injured individuals. It is important to emphasize The Miami Project’s total commitment to develop and refine new treatment protocols based on reproducible data to maximize recovery.

Another critical mission of The Miami Project is to obtain new information on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying cell death and axonal regeneration.  New knowledge is required to help fuel future clinical investigations and enhance innovative research projects.  In addition to collaborating with academic investigators, the Miami Project researchers are collaborating with industry to help test novel therapeutic agents to help move new treatments forward. Our critical Educational and Outreach programs continue to reach out to individuals throughout the United States and abroad. Importantly, we acknowledge and thank our spinal cord injured community for their important contributions to the success of our clinical research programs.

With the future completion of the new Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center for The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at UHealth/Jackson, our programs will continue to grow and help many more individuals with injury-induced disabilities and quality of life issues. We remain excited about the future as we continue to collaborate with scientists worldwide to test new technologies and approaches for improving functional outcomes. These are extraordinary times at The Miami Project and we greatly appreciate the critical support from our friends and colleagues.

W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D.
Scientific Director