Non-invasive electrical stimulation of the cervical spinal cord to facilitate arm and hand functional recovery in incomplete traumatic cervical spinal cord injured patients


We will develop a “bottom to top” approach employing animal models and human testing to determine whether or not non-invasive neuromodulation of the cervical spinal cord can facilitate functional recovery of the arm and hand, by enhancing transmission along the residual brain-to-spinal connectome. The proposal follows a multi-disciplinary and translational approach and is divided in 4 working packages (WP). WP1; Identify the best stimulation parameter to facilitate reaching and grasping recovery in cervical contused rats and identify the cervical spinal neurons involved in this motor task. WP2; Use transgenic mice to study the relationship between the plasticity of the spinal inhibitory system and the recovery inflicted by the electrical stimulation. WP3; Evaluate and optimize in non-human primates the acute and long term facilitation or inhibition within the CNS connectivity inflicted after delivering current to the spinal cord. WP4; Implement a recently technology developed at US to deliver painless non-invasive transcutaneous stimulation of the spinal cord, by applying the stimulation parameters which have shown to activate the human lumbar spinal networks. We will optimize the stimulation parameters using as a reference the results obtained in the animal model studies. The results will be presented in international meetings and published in high impact peer reviewed journals.



Call topic

External Insults

Proposed runtime

2017 - 2021

Project team

Guillermo Garcia-Alias (Coordinator)
Spain (ISCIII)
Joan Vidal
Spain (ISCIII)
Andrew Jackson
United Kingdom (MRC)
Joel Glover
Norway (RCN)