News Release
   
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   February 15, 2001

Christine Grant
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Marilyn Riley
609-984-7160

 
State to Make $3 Million Dollars Available for
Spinal Cord Research Grants

Trenton - Department of Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant announced today the first round of awards available to researchers in the State of New Jersey for research projects on spinal cord treatment and cures. Approximately $3 million in grants will be administered through the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research (NJCSCR), a Commission created through the Spinal Cord Research Act.

Acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco stressed the importance of funding research projects that will continue to improve the quality of life for New Jersey residents suffering from spinal cord injuries, and said: "The personal and economic impact spinal cord injuries can inflict on New Jersey residents is often immeasurable. Here in New Jersey we have the opportunity to provide funding to researchers who will assist us in achieving a better life for each new generation."

"The New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research is just over a year old and well on the way to obtaining the goals and priorities laid out before them," said Commissioner Grant. "The fact that we are making these grants available in a little more than one year is truly remarkable in comparison to the other states with similar programs."

"I encourage interested institutions, businesses and others looking to further the research on spinal cord treatment to apply for the available grants that will be administered through the Commission in the Department of Health and Senior Services," added the Commissioner.

Research awards are being offered with funding for each project ranging from $50,000 a year to a two-year $250,000 award. The NJCSCR will fund research activities that hold promise of developing effective interventions and cures for paralysis and other consequences of spinal cord injury and disease. Funding for the grants is generated through penalty payments for motor vehicle or traffic violations in the state. Applications must be received by March 22, 2001.

A landmark piece of legislation, the Spinal Cord Research Act was initiated by Assemblyman Nicholas Felice (R-40) and signed into law in September 1999 at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange - at an event that included Christopher Reeve.
Mr. Reeve, through the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, has worked tirelessly to inform the public of the importance of funding for research and information sharing on spinal cord injuries.

The NJCSCR was created to solicit and approve research projects, compile a directory of all spinal cord research projects being conducted within the state and to provide the Governor and Legislature with a status report on its activities.

Eleven members serve on the Commission, including the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services. Dr. Joel DeLisa, Chairperson of the Commission, explained the importance of continued research on this important public health issue: "In cultivating collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches to spinal cord research, we open the doors to new treatments that will improve a patients quality of care and quality of life," said Dr. DeLisa. "Everyday we are making advances in how we can help people with these serious injuries and the work of the Commission is indeed instrumental in this process."

Additional members of the Commission include; Patricia Morton, Ph.D., Vice Chairperson; Peter Carmel, M.D., representing University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; Susan Howley, representing the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation; John D. Del Colle, Public Member; Carl LaGrotteria, Sr., L.S.W., Public Member; Henry Liss, M.D., Physician Representative; David C. Lowell, Public Member; Wise Young, M.D., P.h.D., representing Rutgers, The State University; and Cynthia Kirchner, MPA, representing the Department of Health and Senior Services. Cynthia Povich, MA, serves as the Commission's Executive Director.

Approximately 6,000 New Jersey residents suffer from traumatic injuries or diseases that damage the spinal cord. The Department estimates that 300 new injuries occur each year in New Jersey.

To apply for the research grants, obtain forms, or for additional information on the program, visit the NJCSCR web-site at www.state.nj.us/health/spinalcord/. Written inquires can be directed to: The New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research, Executive Director, Department of Health and Senior Services, P.O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625.

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