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BLOG: How a Swiss researcher tries to cure spinal cord injury in a way no one thought possible

April 25 2016

How to make a therapy for spinal cord injury? Instead of following the dozens of other research groups that focus on cell therapies or exoskeletons, Prof. Grégoire Courtine chose to take a different route. 

He built upon the fascinating insight that below the spinal cord injury, the motor system for autonomous locomotion is still present. He only needed to find a way to reactivate and steer it to be functional again. Striking to me, is the ability of him and his group to bring in and develop entirely new technological concepts to make this work, including novel robotic systems and neuro-electronic interfaces. The way he presented his TED talk in 2013 is exemplifying for him as a person and his unique approach to neuroscience (“The paralyzed rat that walked again”, viewed over 800.000 times).

Recently, Prof. Courtine received a prestigious € 2.0 million ERC Consolidator Grant to further elucidate the cellular biology why his approach indeed works. On top of that, the company that will bring this exciting therapy to the clinic (G-Therapeutics) received € 36 million of several prominent investors in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, setting the stage for rapid clinical development.

Prof. Grégoire Courtine, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) and CSO of G-Therapeutics: “The support from both the venture funds (in G-Therapeutics) and the European Research Council (ERC) strengthen our efforts to make a difference in spinal cord injury at all fronts. Where the VC funding will expedite its clinical introduction, the ERC grant will help us understand the cellular and neurological processes underlying our approach. ttopstart has helped us acquiring the ERC grant. They have been particularly helpful in conceptualising the way we think neuroplasticity works into a sound work plan and conveying this in a way that the reviewers understand and applaud.“ 

Are you interested to further the impact of your ERC-grants, do not hesitate to view our website or contact one of our consultants!

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ir. Jasper Levink