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October 1, 2013 > Senate approves spinal cord injury research billÊ

Senate approves spinal cord injury research billÊ

Submitted By Jeff Barbosa

On September 9, 2013, the state Senate unanimously approved a bill by Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) to fund the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Program administered at the University of California, Irvine. The bill, AB 714, passed 39-0 and now goes to Governor Brown. The Governor has until Oct. 13 to take action on the bill.

ÒThis bill has enjoyed strong bipartisan support in the Legislature because it promotes state of the art research into spinal cord injuries and helps leverage additional funding from the National Institutes of Health and foundations,Ó Wieckowski said.

AB 714 directs $1 million from the general fund to restore funding to the program, which was created by the state Legislature in 2000. Budget cuts eliminated state funding during the recession. Over the years, the program has attracted roughly $5 in federal funds for every $1 spent in state funds.

Researchers, primarily from public and private universities in California, apply for Roman Reed research grants. Discoveries through this research have resulted in new robotic devices to help patients recover movement, and advancement of new drugs to pre-clinical trials. The discoveries made through this research also inform our understanding and treatment of diseases like multiple sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy, ParkinsonÕs disease, and many more.

The program is named after Fremont Planning Commissioner Roman Reed, who was paralyzed in a Chabot College football game. He is now a spinal cord research advocate who has helped increase research funding in states across the country.

In the past three years top researchers from the stateÕs universities, as well as biotech organizations such as BayBio and the California Healthcare Institute, have expressed their support for WieckowskiÕs efforts to refund the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Program.

Assemblymember WieckowskiÕs district includes San Jose, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Fremont and Newark.

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