The Riluzole in Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study (RISCIS): A multi-centre, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of the safety and efficacy of riluzole as a neuroprotective agent for acute traumatic SCI.
|Host institution||University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Research locations||Middlemore Hospital, Otahuhu, Auckland and Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand|
|Lead investigator||Michael G. Fehlings, MD PhD FRCSC FACS|
|Funding term||1 January 2019 – 31 December 2021|
CatWalk is providing funding to support the inclusion of two New Zealand hospitals in a major international SCI clinical drug trial. Funding will be used to add Middlemore Hospital in Auckland and the Burwood Spinal Unit in Christchurch to a large-scale trial, which is already running consecutively in 23 hospitals around the world.
An initial insult to the spinal cord triggers mechanisms that create further injury. There is strong data that the drug Riluzole lessens secondary impact in SCI and leads to reduced neurological tissue destruction and improved function. The aim of this randomized trial is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of Riluzole in the treatment of patients with traumatic SCI.
The clinical trial will monitor the success of the drug in treatments, based on earlier clinical data which suggests that the drug has the potential to improve motor sensory functionality for those living with SCI.
Expanding the trial to Kiwi hospitals will help to boost patient recruitment for the study, meaning the success of the drug could be demonstrated up to a year earlier than forecast. This means a treatment resulting in improved outcomes for those living with SCI could be made available a year earlier.
The results of this trial have the potential to change clinical practice, and may mitigate the burden of disability on SCI patients, families, and society.
The trial is led globally by Professor Michael Fehlings, a neurosurgeon based at Toronto Western Hospital in Canada. Prof. Fehlings is internationally regarded as a leader in SCI clinical trials around the globe, and expanding his trial to New Zealand is something of a coup for our local researchers and medical professionals.
CatWalk is committed to supporting world-class SCI research and innovation. On top of the leading research we support here in New Zealand, we are extremely proud to be able to facilitate local involvement in an international research project of such magnitude.