Development of a novel stem cell-seeded extracellular matrix for treatment of chronic wounds

The bedsore or pressure ulcer is a serious health problem that affects many individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). These ulcers mostly develop on skin that covers bony prominences of the body, such as the hips and tailbone. Pressure ulcers are often very difficult to treat and not only negatively affect patients’ health, but also have profound impact on their quality of life. This speaks to the need for finding more effective treatment methods to address this problem. Our aim in this research project is to find a novel method to improve the healing of pressure ulcers.

A Pilot Clinical Study of Treating Pressure Ulcers in patients with Spinal Cord Injury

Pressure ulcers are among the top five leading causes of re-hospitalization in patients with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Unfortunately, current conventional prevention and treatment methods have neither decreased the prevalence of these ulcers nor significantly improved their outcomes. To address this difficulty, here, we will test the efficacy of our new liquid skin substitute to fill up the non-healing wounds where the skin solidified and promotes the healing process. Our plan in a pilot study is to treat 12 patients who pressure non-healing wounds did not heal in the previous 3 months.

Modeling of dynamic seat and backrest adjustments for manual wheelchairs

During an average day, a wheelchair user will be required to undertake a variety of different tasks. However, wheelchairs are usually designed in a fixed configuration and cannot adapt to different situations. Models such as PDG Mobility’s “Elevation” wheelchair address this issue by allowing users to adjust their position while still seated. We aim to research the effects of these seat configuration changes on wheelchair stability and maneuverability.

Biomarkers of Spinal Cord Injury

In this project, we will establish biomarkers that objectively reflect the severity of injury, measure its progression, and predict neurologic outcome after acute spinal cord injury (SCI). This will be accomplished by comprehensively analyzing blood and spinal fluid samples from acute SCI patients. In addition, we will conduct a parallel experimental study in a large animal model of SCI with a similar analysis of blood and spinal fluid samples.

Pressure Ulcer Biobank from Spinal Cord Injury Patients

Pressure ulcers (PUs) are a major health problem in people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs). PUs increase hospital admissions, with 25% of SCI treatment cost linked to PU management. Currently, treatment is limited and new therapeutic options are required. Wound fluid from PUs is invaluable for researchers as it allows a detailed study of the disease. However, no system is in place to systematically collect and store SCI PU wound fluid in British Columbia. In response, the aim of this proposal is to collaborate with the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) to establish a PU biobank.