Our goal is to disprove the notion of a "complete"spinal cord injury.
HINRI Labs, or the Healthcare Institute for NeuroRecovery and Innovation, was founded for the sole purpose of changing the standard of care for chronic complete spinal cord injuries (SCI) nationwide and ultimately around the world. Our mission is to use our clinical, military, and university partners to accelerate, advance, and scale-up all existent evidence-based research that has successfully demonstrated, through safety and efficacy measures, the potential of neurological recovery of movement, function, and/or sensation, below the level of injury, for chronic complete SCI patients.
There are 1.4 million paralyzed individuals living in the USA today – 27,000 of which are US veterans. Those who demonstrate no movement or sensation below their injury a few weeks after their accident are sent home with instructions on how to live the rest of their lives in a wheelchair, in pain, fighting off infections, dealing with secondary complications, and with a substandard quality of life and life expectancy. They do not qualify for any insurable treatment intervention or rehabilitation once they are diagnosed with a “complete” spinal cord injury (SCI).
Fortunately, new technology breakthroughs are pushing the outdated notion that paralysis is permanent. To accelerate one of these breakthroughs – called transcutaneous electrical stimulation – HINRI is partnering with UCLA on a clinical trial to prove its potential in recovering lost functions in SCI patients. If we are successful, the next iteration of this trial will be in partnership with the US Veteran’s Administration and will include a patient base exclusively of veterans. Our current trial will also help design follow-on trials necessary for FDA approval.
Transcutaneous electrical stimulation has already shown clinically-verified results in patients with complete spinal cord injuries. One such patient is Ignacio Montoya, a HINRI grantee and US Air Force veteran who recently experienced standing up, supporting himself, and sensations of bodily functions for the first time since his accident seven years ago.
The success of this type of innovation is dependent on donors who see the potential in cutting edge technology and their willingness to invest in solving previously unsolvable problems. This aligns perfectly with our clinical trial, the goal of which is to get spinal cord injury (SCI) patients who were written off by our healthcare system to stand, step, and regain normal bodily functions again.
We are within $382,000 of reaching our goal of funding an exploratory clinical trial that will lay the groundwork for millions of patients to gain access to this technology. Click here to invest in our efforts.
Spinal cord injuries cost the nation an estimated $9.7 billion each year. Individually, for quadriplegics, a severe spinal cord injury can cost $199,000 annually and as much as $5 million over a lifetime.
Our goal is to make this technology available for everyone with a spinal cord injury so they can regain their independence. Please help us!
The Problem We Are Trying To Solve
Ross Mason's Journey
"What this is teaching us is that those networks of neurons
below a spinal cord injury still can function after paralysis,"
Kendall Lee, M.D., Ph.D., neurosurgeon and director of
Mayo Clinic's Neural Engineering Laboratories
Tracking Our Progress
Peter sustained a T-5 level spinal cord injury as the result of a car accident almost three years ago (9/6/17). He has consistently tested ASIA-A, indicating that he has had no voluntary movement or sensation below his chest level injury. In just his first month in the trial, Peter showed more improvement than that of over the past two years of intensive therapy.
To the right are videos of Peter standing, supporting his body weight, and starting to take steps with assistance - both without electrical stimulation. The next two pictures show him working on his core and voluntarily raising his legs with electrical stimulation.
Ignacio sustained a T-4 spinal cord injury and brachial plexus injury to his right arm (the nerves to his arm had literally been ripped away from the spinal cord) in a car accident seven years ago. He was diagnosed with an ASIA-A injury multiple times and doctors suggested amputating his arm.
To the right are pictures marking Ignacio's progress during the trial. We'll let you hear an update directly from him:
1. I am now sweating while exercising which in turn has increased my blood circulation and body temperature to near normal levels. This in turn has translated to me not having to wear extra clothes, hoodies, or a thick compression sleeve on my right arm just to keep my body temperature stable.
2. This neuronal activation which is making my muscles below the lesion contract is also making me hungry and thirsty like I have never felt before during these last seven years since the accident.
3. I have begun to move my toes on command.
4. I can now support and balance myself independently WITH AND WITHOUT the electrical stimulation while sitting at the edge of a massage table and while kneeling as well.
5. I now FEEL when my left leg is being touched even if it is with a single strand of hair. This hypersensitivity in this leg translates to me feeling chills on the left side of my chest and thorax which lets me know my leg is being touched.
6. I am starting to have sensations of wanting to void urine.
7. I have increased sexual function.
8. I am finally going to sleep tired and am sleeping well throughout the entire night.
9. When I stand over ground during the clinical trial, I am also able to engage my side and back muscles to balance myself and support my torso independently.
In summary, the best way I can describe my progress thus far is that my body below the lesion in my spinal cord has literally come alive again. Once the stimulation is on I do not feel paralyzed, I feel my body functioning again and doing things it hasn’t done in seven years! My resting metabolic rate has almost doubled and I have also lost weight from all the sweating and calories than I’m burning during each session. Mentally and emotionally I feel super happy as I’m working towards my recovery and finally seeing breakthrough level results for the first time ever.
This is just after the second month, we still hopefully have 10 more to go and tons of more progress.
2/5/20: Lifting his leg
8/1/20: Walking 1,204 steps with an exoskeleton