About The Mark Pollock Trust
Spinal cord injury (SCI) strikes at the very heart of what it means to be human. For those who survive, it turns them from their upright, standing, running, jumping forms into seated compromises of their former selves. And, it is not just the lack of feeling and movement, it also interferes with the body’s internal systems that are designed to keep people alive.
Today, there is no cure or any meaningful therapies available for people who are paralysed. Yet, we are widely agreed that the world’s greatest scientists and technologists can move meaningful therapies from their labs to the clinic and out to those who need them in the next five years.
Through our experience in Europe and the US, in partnership with a diverse range of scientists and technologists, we know that radically rethinking the current research model will significantly improve our chances of translating meaningful therapies to the clinic and ultimately to cure spinal cord injury.
At the Mark Pollock Trust we have been modeling this approach since 2011. We have primarily been building relationships with the leading authorities in different but complementary disciplines – neuro-modulation and robotics – to produce meaningful results in short, 1 to 3 year timeframes. By way of example, after creating the world’s first collaborative research study combining two interventions, one owned by a university lab, the other by a commercial entity, Mark Pollock became the first person in the world with chronic complete paralysis to regain enough voluntary control to actively take steps in a robotic exoskeleton while using a transcutaneous stimulator. This simply would not have happened without us bringing these stakeholders together and creating this trial.
Among some other successes, we have built a strong working relationship with Prof Reggie Edgerton and his team at UCLA, the world’s leading authority on electrical stimulation and neuro-modulation. And, we continue to work closely with Ekso Bionics who are leading the field in robotic exoskeletons to augment human movement. We also co-created the ‘Druid Collective’ – an initiative within the World Economic Forum to connect science and technology spin-out companies with relevant expertise and capital. We facilitated the formation of a $4 million venture philanthropy fund with a Silicon Valley VC and a US philanthropic foundation. And we are actively working with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and Wings for Life to bring together the philanthropic foundations that represent patients and fund research, encouraging them to innovate in how they lead.
We are now ready to take what we have been prototyping and apply it, at scale, across rehabilitation, robotics, neuro modulation, neuroscience, bioengineering, biology and pharmacology with others like The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Houston Methodist Research Institute, University of Washington, Trinity College Dublin and University of Zurich.
Up to this point in history it has proven to be impossible to find a cure for spinal cord injury. But we believe we can change that if enough of the right people have the will to make it happen.
So, it is the Mark Pollock Trust’s mission to find and connect those people worldwide to fast track a cure for spinal cord injury.
To fund our ongoing academic programme we are raising $ 2 million to build a hub of experts to support scientists working in this field to expand the time they spend in the lab, and collaborate across disciplines around the world.