World Brain Day is an annual global initiative dedicated to raising awareness about neurological disorders and promoting brain health.
Today we want to highlight one of the projects that we are working on at INL – JumpIN, which aligns with the mission of World Brain Day to promote brain health and combat the challenges posed by brain-related diseases.
Spinal cord injury is a significant global health concern, with approximately 500,000 new cases reported each year. These injuries result in neurological deficits, and studies indicate that 99% of patients experience lifelong functional impairment, ranging from partial paralysis to full tetraplegia. The prognosis of recovery largely depends on the number of surviving neurons close to the injury site, as these neurons can contribute to functional improvements through neuroplasticity (i.e. the ability of the brain to change and adapt).
The JumpIN project aims to develop efficient strategies to promote neuronal repair and regeneration following spinal cord injury. The new approach aims to achieve therapy administration using minimally invasive methods, which are preferred because they can reduce the risk of complications, minimise tissue damage, and potentially lead to faster recovery times.
Researchers at INL are contributing to this innovative project by adding their expertise in microfluidics. The team is developing a human organ-on-chip model of the peripheral/central nervous system interface to assess neuronal targeting and repair. The experimental approaches designed within JumpIN provide alternatives to traditional animal experimentation and preclinical testing.
By focusing on this critical area of research, the JumpIN project represents a translational multidisciplinary initiative towards improving the lives of individuals affected by spinal cord injuries. The project builds upon solid preliminary data, expertise and collaborations from INL, i3S and Tel Aviv University, ensuring a successful outcome.