When Kathy closed her eyes one night 12 years ago, she did not expect to wake up a completely different person. A harmless episode of sleepwalking resulted in a spinal cord injury so severe, she was left paralyzed from the trunk down, and her life was changed in a matter of minutes. As a spinal cord injury survivor, Kathy’s hope had dwindled as the years ticked on, and she still did not regain movement below her injury site. Then came Dr. David Darrow and the E-STAND (Epidural Stimulation after Neurologic Damage) Clinical Trial team of researchers. The E-STAND trial is a clinical trial focused on testing and optimizing the use of epidural spinal cord stimulation to restore voluntary movement in patients suffering from spinal cord injury and paraplegia. After undergoing the hour-long procedure, Kathy woke up to the ability to wiggle her toes. This trial has given her, what she says, “more hope than I’ve had in years.”
As bystanders, we can only imagine the physical, emotional, and financial toll that an injury of this severity takes on a person and their family. Your gift can help people like Kathy, feel a sense of hope again. Though we do receive grant funding from the Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Grant Program, we have grown substantially and are exhausting that funding source—your additional support will help us expand and make an even larger impact.
The E-STAND Clinical Trial costs approximately $35,000 for one participant, which includes the surgery, medical supplies, staff time, as well as the management of the study. Your gift can help us learn more about epidural stimulation for chronic spinal cord injury and in turn, impact the quality of life for many patients.
The goal of the E-STAND Clinical Trial is to enroll a large variety of spinal cord injury patients to ensure the study is more representative of the general patient population. With an estimated 300,000 individuals living with chronic spinal cord injury, our research team can learn the practical application of this therapy to impact the lives of thousands by enrolling patients from all over the world with the most severe of injuries, the oldest average age of patients, and the longest average time since the initial injury.
We understand that no two patients are the same, so we tailor our study to their individual needs—this is what made the E-STAND Clinical Trial the perfect fit for Kathy, a North Central Minnesota resident. Rather than uprooting a patient's life, we focused on creating an approach that requires minimal face-to-face contact by creating a tablet application that collects data from wherever our patients may be. When they come in for their monthly visits, our team of doctors, researchers, and engineers are ready with the optimal device settings, based on the remote data and patient feedback on effectiveness, to continue to make improvements.
Over time, the device is programmed with optimized settings for the quality of life improvements that are desired explicitly by the individual patient.
Examples of quality of life improvements include:
- Reduced spasticity in muscles
- Voluntary movement
- Core support
- Bowel and urinary control
- Cardiovascular improvement
If this therapy is determined to be effective for the treatment of chronic spinal cord injury, then our trial will be a model of how it can effectively be used in clinical practice. Make a gift today, to continue our research so that more people can rediscover the joy that wiggling your toes can bring.
To learn more about the clinical trial visit, estand.org
"Enabling someone to move their legs more than 10 years after being paralyzed from spinal cord injury has been one of the greatest moments of my career."
– E-STAND Researcher