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Collaborative partnership drives Blusson Spinal Cord Centre to become world leader in pre-clinical, clinical research 

Vancouver BC (April 12, 2013) – The Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF), a leader in spinal cord injury research and accessibility and awareness, today announced a grant of $20 million to support researchers and clinicians at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre (BSCC) to accelerate clinical research. The multi-year funding will be received over a period of ten years commencing April, 2013.

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Pictured from left: Howard Feldman, Executive Associate Dean, UBC Medicine; Mary Ackenhusen, President and CEO, Vancouver Coastal Health; Rick Hansen, CEO, Rick Hansen Foundation; Brian Kwon, Spine Surgeon, Vancouver General Hospital; Bill Barrable, CEO, Rick Hansen Institute; Wolfram Tetzlaff, Director, ICORD.

The funding will progressively strengthen and grow the partnership between the Rick Hansen Institute and the International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries (ICORD). ICORD is a joint University of British Columbia-Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) research centre based at Vancouver General Hospital. 

Envisioned and led by Rick Hansen and the Rick Hansen Foundation, BSCC opened in 2008, bringing together scientists and specialists under one roof, who work together to discover and implement novel treatments and approaches into improved outcomes, independence and quality of life for people living with spinal cord injury (SCI) and their families.

“Our goal for the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre is to build its position as the world’s leading partnership in innovative and collaborative pre-clinical and clinical research to accelerate the discovery of SCI cures,” announced Rick Hansen. The collaborative relationship between the four entities, known as the Blusson Integrated Cures Partnership, will leverage the existing strengths of each organization to identify new and innovative treatments towards cures for SCI, and investigating the application of SCI of existing treatments in other neurological disorders, injuries, and diseases. “RHF funding for the Blusson Integrated Cures Partnership will develop and promote an International Clinical Trial and Research Network that will enable international collaboration in promising clinical trials and research efforts,” said Hansen. “The funding will also work to inform, empower, and include people with SCI to be informed, and to be champions and active participants in our efforts to create a world without paralysis and spinal cord injury.”

"We look forward to increasing collaboration by engaging with people with SCI, research leaders and clinicians so that the most promising discoveries with the best chance of achieving cures will make it out of the labs and into clinical trials," noted Dr. Wolfram Tetzlaff, Incoming Director of ICORD. “Then, these results will be applied to people with SCI who can benefit the most from them.” 

Both Tetzlaff and Bill Barrable, CEO of RHI, recognized Hansen’s lifelong leadership and commitment to innovation which led to the creation of the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, in order to find a cure for paralysis after SCI, and noted the Rick Hansen Foundation’s longstanding and impressive track record of funding work to accelerate cures.

“Today, thanks to the Rick Hansen Foundation, we are pleased to announce a major step towards creating a world without paralysis after SCI,” noted Barrable. “This vision of a world without paralysis after SCI can be achieved in our lifetime, and this funding will help accelerate progress towards that goal.”

For further details about Rick and RHF, and for general press inquiries, please contact Dan Enjo, Communications Specialist, at 778-296-1571, or by email at .