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The Miami Project at The Lois Pope LIFE Center – An End to Paralysis

October 3, 2013

The establishment of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis began with a tragedy. The son of Nick Buoniconti, a member of the NFL Hall of Fame and a former linebacker, received a critical spinal injury while playing in a college football game. In response to his son’s paralysis, Mr. Buoniconti partnered with Dr. Barth Green to found The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in 1985, thus establishing what would become the world’s leader in research on spinal cord and brain injuries. After the founders began their mission, they sought out the project’s first scientific director, Dr. Åke Seiger, who quickly set about recruiting scientists and medical experts to staff the project.

Located at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in The Lois Pope LIFE Center, which is also home to the university’s Neuroscience Research Programs, The Miami Project brings together over 250 clinicians and scientists who work to treat existing injuries and oversee research projects designed to develop new treatments. One of the project’s foundational programs is the Christine E. Lynn Clinical Trials Initiative, which seeks to bring experimental successes to human patients through a fast-track program. Since 1997, The Miami Project team has been headed by Dr. W. Dalton Dietrich, who has strived to continue the program’s commitment to bringing laboratory results to medical clinics.

The scientists at The Lois Pope LIFE Center have enjoyed many successes in their pursuit of The Miami Project’s key mission. One of the first teams to specifically seek multidisciplinary methodologies for exploring spinal cord injuries, The Miami Project was the first research facility that assembled the necessary expertise and technology to fully examine these medical issues. The team’s research has resulted in novel treatments like inducing hypothermia to limit the damage caused by spinal cord injuries, the use of embryonic neurons to reconnect injured spines to muscle tissue, and the use of Schwann cells in the treatment of injuries.

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