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June 8, 2012 > Assembly approves Roman Reed spinal cord injury bill

Assembly approves Roman Reed spinal cord injury bill

Submitted By Jeff Barbosa

Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski's (D-Fremont) bill to secure funding for state-of-the-art research to find treatments for spinal cord injuries and paralysis was approved by the state Assembly on May 31, 2012 by a 46-24 vote. The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

AB 1657 would fund the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Program, named after the Fremont Planning Commissioner and research advocate. Since its creation in 2000, the program has secured almost $80M in state funds and federal grants from the National Institutes of Health and other sources but funding from the state was eliminated due to budget cuts.

"For every dollar we put in we receive about $4 in federal research funding," Wieckowski said. "This program provides hope for those dealing with paralysis and provides the resources necessary for our best researchers to undertake these research projects. That's why our state's biotech community, the University of California and our top neuroscientists support this bill."

Funding for the bill would be derived from a $1 penalty on all moving traffic violations. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, according to the Mayo Clinic. Eight other states have enacted similar legislation to fund spinal cord research.

The program is run through the University of California and administered by the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California, Irvine.

A recent study commissioned by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control reveals that approximately 5.6 million Americans are afflicted by some form of paralysis and 1.2 million live with a spinal cord injury.

Roman Reed, his father, Don, the University of California, and Boston Scientific all testified on behalf of the bill before committees in the Assembly. The bill is also supported by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Brock Reeve, the brother of the late actor Christopher Reeve, and the California Healthcare Institute.

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