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JUNE 2001

New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research (NJCSCR)

This data was compiled in compliance with the NJCSCR's statutory mandate, N.J.S.A. 52:9E-1, "…to compile a directory of spinal cord research being conducted in the State."

The information contained within the 2001 Directory of Research is not all-inclusive. The research projects and researchers listed in the directory are all based in the State of New Jersey, and have applied to and received funding during the Fiscal Year 2001 grant cycle. The research projects are not categorized, or listed in any particular order.

The 2002 Directory of Research will be expanded; however, it will not be a complete listing of all scientific research being performed, due to the proprietary nature of the research being conducted at various institutions throughout the state. In addition, institutions are not obligated to share their information with the NJCSCR. It is our hope to include in the 2002 Directory of Research, a section on clinical trial availability and contact information.

Suggestions and feedback are always welcome, please feel free to contact the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research at PO Box 360, H&A Building, Market and Warren Streets, Trenton, New Jersey, 08625. The NJCSCR Office can be reached by telephone at 609-292-4055, or by e-mail at
Web site address:


Joel A. DeLisa, M.D., M.S., Chairman
Patricia Morton. Ph.D., Vice Chair
Barbara T. Benevento, M.D.
Peter W. Carmel, M.D.
John D. Del Colle
Susan P. Howley
Cynthia Kirchner, M.P.H.
Carl LaGrotteria, Sr., L.S.W.
Henry R. Liss, M.D.
David C. Lowell

Cynthia Povich, Executive Director
Margaret Anthony, Fiscal Grants Management
Christine Traynor, Administration

001-101 - Level One - $100,843 - Clinical

Acupuncture in the Treatment of Shoulder Pain in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury
The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of shoulder pain in chronic spinal cord injury. Shoulder pain is a common secondary complication associated with SCI. Shoulder pain can have a substantial impact on independence, community integration, and overall quality of life. Study will determine the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of shoulder pain in individuals with chronic SCI by using a randomized, single blind (subject), and placebo-controlled design.

Principal Contact Information:
Trevor A. Dyson-Hudson, M.D.
Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation
1199 Pleasant Valley Way
West Orange, New Jersey 07052

006-101- Level One - $49,480 - Clinical

Using fMRI Online as a Biofeedback Signal for CNS Rehabilitation
Women with SCI can learn how to reduce fMRI "hot spots" to reduce their chronic pain and increase fMRI activity to increase genital sensitivity. Research will address biological mechanisms underlying approaches to improve functions compromised by SCI, e.g., sexual function, and alleviate chronic pain, development of innovative restorative rehabilitation strategies to promote recovery of function.

Principal Contact Information:
Barry R. Komisaruk, Ph.D., Professor II
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Newark Campus
101 Warren Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102

007-101 - Level One - $148,500 - Basic Science

Study of Radial Glia and Potential Application for Nerve Regeneration
To explore genes that promote the radial glial phenotype and its potential application for nerve regeneration. Study will use molecular approaches including gene chip analyses to identify genes that are selectively expressed in radial glia. As a result of this research the hope is to learn more about genes that may be used in humans to stabilize human radial glia. The application of these genes or human radial glia to the injured spinal cord may open new opportunities to promote nerve regeneration in humans.

Principal Contact Information:
Hedong Li, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
604 Allison Road, Room D251
Piscataway, New Jersey 08854

012-101 - Level One - $105,000 - Basic Science

IGFBP-5 Regulation of Motor Neuron Cell Death
The effect of a mutation in the mouse IGFBP-5 gene on injury-induced cell death will be examined. Degeneration of spinal cord neurons following injury is a major health concern. This study will look at the elimination of IGFBP-5, which is normally expressed in spinal motor neurons, if it would delay the process of cell death in these neurons following spinal nerve transection. The result of this research will allow assessment of whether alteration of IGFBP-5 activity may provide a reasonable target that may enhance neuron survival following either acute or chronic spinal cord injury and disease.

Principal Contact Information:
John E. Pintar, Ph.D.
Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
675 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, New Jersey 08854-5635

002-201 - Level Two - $71,403 - Clinical

Effect of Oral Fampridine-SR on Pulmonary Function in Subjects with Acute Complete Tetraplegia
To determine the effectiveness of fampridine on respiratory function in persons with acute traumatic SCI. Respiratory complications are the leading cause of death and a leading cause of morbidity in the acute period after spinal cord injury. Finding interventions that improve respiratory function during the acute period after SCI would impact directly on patient survival after injury as well as decreasing the dramatic complications that may ensue.

Principal Contact Information:
Steven C. Kirshblum, M.D.
Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation
1199 Pleasant Valley Way
West Orange, New Jersey 07052

003-201 - Level Two - $197,776 - Basic Science

Non-Antibiotic Alternatives for Prevention and Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI's)
Evaluate the effectiveness of alternative medications in preventing and treating UTI's following SCI. UTI's are the most common complication and a significant source of morbidity in those with SCI. Frequent antibiotic use to treat UTI's can in addition to costs and potential side effects, cause the emergence of very resistant organisms requiring intravenous antibiotics.

Principal Contact Information:
Todd A. Linsenmeyer, M.D.
Director of Urology
Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation
1199 Pleasant Valley Way
West Orange, New Jersey 07052

008-201 - Level Two- $198,000 - Basic Science

Nerve Regeneration by Fragments of the Cell Adhesion Molecule L1
The goal of this research is to study the ability of the neural cellular adhesion molecule L1 to promote regeneration following spinal cord injury. Neurological injuries are among the most devastating and costly of human ailments. These conditions are most often chronic and historically have been considered untreatable.

Principal Contact Information:
Martin Grumet, Ph.D., Professor
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
604 Allison Road, Room D251
Piscataway, New Jersey 08854

009-201 - Level Two - $200,000 - Basic Science

Profiling Inflammatory Gene Expression Following Acute Spinal Cord Injury
Identification of new targets for drug development designed to minimize secondary tissue damage after SCI. Immediately following a SCI, surviving cells initiate inflammation. It is widely believed that this localized inflammation leads to a second, more damaging period of cellular destruction due to mechanisms that rely, at least in part, on changes in gene expression. Focus on gene regulation mechanisms that are affected by inflammatory signals.

Principal Contact Information:
Ronald P. Hart, Ph.D., Professor
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
604 Allison Road, Room D251
Piscataway, New Jersey 08854

011-201 - Level Two - $198,000 - Basic Science

Study of Activated Macrophage Transplantation into Rat Spinal Cord Contusion Model
Recent studies indicate that activated macrophages transplanted to the injured spinal cord can promote regeneration and improve locomotor recovery in rats with SCI. Macrophages are inflammatory cells that scavenge dying cells and release cellular factors called cytokines and growth factors. Through experiments the hope is to define the optimal activation states of macrophages that are associated with improved regeneration and locomotor recovery.

Principal Contact Information:
Dongming Sun, Ph.D., M.D.
Assistant Research Professor
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
604 Allison Road, Room D251
Piscataway, New Jersey 08854

012-201 - Level Two - $200,000 - Basic Science

Treating Spinal Cord Injury with Ginsenosides
This project evaluates the potential of ginsenosides in the treatment of spinal cord injury. SCI is a major cause of disability. Extensive clinical and experimental studies show that traumatic SCI results in loss of neurons and nerve fibers, which lead to partial disability or complete paralysis. Ginsenosides have been shown to have significant neuroprotective effects on spinal cord neurons, preventing death induced by several different types of damage occurring in spinal injuries.

Principal Contact Information:
Renping Zhou, Ph.D.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey,
College of Pharmacy
164 Frelinghuysen Road
Piscataway, New Jersey 08854

013-201 - Level Two - $200,000 - Basic Science

Transplantation of Adult Bone Marrow Stromal Cell-Derived Neurons to Spinal Cord
To maximize the therapeutic potential for patients by defining the genetic and biochemical processes that convert the stem cells to neurons using cell culture as an approach. Optimize the neuronal inducing chemical environment by modifying the use of anti-oxidants, and growth and survival hormones to obtain the most robust neurons for transplantation. Transplant the new neurons to the normal and injured rat spinal cord using models of injury; analyze recovery from paralysis, new circuit formation and cell survival to document recovery of function. Long-term goal is to achieve recovery of function after SCI by transplanting these unique neurons in combination with optimal concentrations of specific growth and survival hormones.

Principal Contact Information:
Ira B. Black, M.D.
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
675 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, New Jersey 08854

015-201 - Level Two - $200,000 - Basic Science

Microglia-Neuron Interactions in Spinal Cord Injury
The beneficial and deleterious effects of microglia and their interactions with neurons in spinal cord injury will be studied. Emerging evidence indicates that one of the inflammatory cell types, namely microglia/macrophages, plays an important role in traumatic nervous system injury and in other pathological conditions. The goal is to elucidate the role of microglia/macrophages in SCI employing a rat model. Analysis of microglia/macrophage reactions in SCI may be of pivotal importance for the design of therapeutic strategies, which will prevent secondary cell damage by suppressing the production of toxins. Approaches enhancing the helpful effects of microglia/macrophages may promote the survival of affected cells both in the spinal cord and in the brain.

Principal Contact Information:
Stella Elkabes, Ph.D.
Department of Neuroscience
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
New Jersey Medical School
185 South Orange Avenue
MSB, H-506
Newark, New Jersey 07103

016-201 - Level Two - $200,000 - Basic Science

Tenascin-C Domains in Experimental SCI
To evaluate the potential of domains derived from the tenascin-C molecule in promoting regeneration. It has long been recognized that nerve cells that try to grow after being injured stop with they encounter the glial scar, which forms a very strong barrier to growth. It is thought that this barrier is not so much a physical barrier, but is due to the presence of hostile substances in the glial scar that repel growing nerve cells. The goal is to devise ways to encourage nerve cells to grow through the glial scar.

Principal Contact Information:
Herbert M. Geller, Ph.D., Professor
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
675 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, New Jersey 08854

017-201 - Level Two - $192,053 - Basic Science

Impaired Spermatogenesis after Spinal Cord Injury
This proposal will study the effects of SCI on various aspects of the male reproductive system. Infertility is a major consequence of SCI, which adversely affects the quality of life for SCI men. Although semen now can be obtained from over 90% of SCI men by various methods, full term pregnancy conceived by sperm of SCI men remains less than 5%. To date, poor semen quality including poor sperm motility and morphology remains the major cause for infertility in SCI men. Abnormalities in functions of the testis and male accessory glands are major causes for such effects. Study will be on the effects of various extents of SCI on testicular function, if abnormalities in testicular function are correlated with the extents of SCI, examination of mechanisms that lead to changes in testicular function after SCI, and the response of male accessory glands to androgen.

Principal Contact Information:
Hosea F. S. Huang, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Department of Surgery, Section of Urology
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
University Heights - Newark Campus
185 S. Orange Avenue
Newark, New Jersey 07103-2714

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P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
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