StepAhead Australia's mission is to fund the development of novel therapies for promoting repair of the injured and diseased nervous system. Of particular interest is the development of therapies that promote the formation of new neural circuits, a process known as “neuroplasticity”. The ability to promote neuroplasticity will be the principal clinical focus as we seek therapies for chronic spinal cord injury (cSCI).
Approximately 15,000 patients in Australia live with the severe consequences of cSCI, with approximately 350/400 new cases each year. The cost to patients and their families is immeasurable. The cost to the Australian health care system is approximately $2 billion per annum. Despite these deplorable costs, funding to find a cure for chronic spinal cord injury (based on NH&MRC figures 2000-2008) is less than one tenth that is spent on other diseases such as cancer on a pro-rata basis to total health care costs.
The world-wide statistics and cost for SCI are staggering with a rise in incidence that follows the increased use of motor vehicles in China and India.
To overcome this problem and improve the quality of life for chronic spinal cord injury patients, StepAhead Australia will facilitate the involvement of scientists, clinicians, government and business entities in a multi-pronged attack to deliver an effective treatment for spinal paralysis. It is certain that neuroplasticity therapies will be applicable for treating a wide range of other neurological disorders.
StepAhead Australia is governed by a Board comprising the principal benefactors.
The StepAhead Australia Board has appointed a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of internationally recognised scientists, biotechnologists and clinicians who are experts in the field.
StepAhead Australia will develop a communication strategy to maximise awareness of spinal cord injury amongst the community, media, governments, scientists, clinicians and biotechnologists, as to the current state of spinal cord injury repair.