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Christopher Reeve Endowment Award

The Drexel University College of Medicine is pleased to announce the establishment of The Christopher Reeve Endowment Award as a scholarship fund for support of research and training of scientists and clinicians working in the area of spinal cord and brain injury research. This endowment was established with funds raised by a Black Tie event on November 10, 2001. Christopher Reeve was the guest of honor. In his inspiring presentation on the growing optimism in the search for treatment of spinal cord injury he stated that the problem has moved from the realm of impossibility to a set of practical challenges.

Ongoing research at the Drexel University College of Medicine combines progress in basic neuroscience research, engineering technology and clinical expertise - aimed at replacing damaged tissue, inducing regeneration and promoting recovery of function. In particular, the Spinal Cord Research Center under the leadership of Drs. Marion Murray and Itzhak Fischer from the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, has taken a multidisciplinary approach during their 20 years of competitive spinal cord research. Current research focuses on the use of cell transplantation, gene therapy, pharmacological interventions, physiological analysis and behavioral assessment of functional recovery.

The Center has joined forces with engineers at Drexel University to utilize materials science and tissue engineering techniques for improvement of transplantation outcome. There are also important collaborations with clinicians from the Departments of Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine for development of protocols for clinical trials as well as prognosis standards and outcome evaluation methods.

The research activity of the Spinal Cord Research Center has received national and international recognition as well as support from the National Institutes of Health and private foundations such as the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, The Craig Neilsen Foundation and the International Spinal Cord Research Trust. Additionally, there is also a growing partnership with biotechnology companies interested in spinal cord repair.

The Christopher Reeve Endowment Award with a startup fund of about $200,000 will be administered as a part of the Drexel University Pooled Endowment Funds. The selection of recipients shall be based on scientific merit and the call for competitive applications will be announced later this year.