Developing an olfactory cell therapy for spinal cord injury

The key to success of the OEC cellular therapy is helping the spinal nerves to reconnect.


The government recommends that every person in the community should do at least 30  minutes of exercise a day. When it comes to someone recovering from spinal cord injury, with their nervous system making new motor and sensory connections, then they will have to have several hours per day of activity and exercise. 

This is because while the cell  transplantation is the critical component of the therapy, its success relies on the patients undertaking long-term intensive activity-based rehabilitation to allow the nervous system to make new connections and to re-learn the necessary fine-control needed for proper motor and sensory function. Without the long-term activity-based rehabilitation, the cell transplantation alone will not be successful.

With support of the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation, Griffith University has developed a framework for this sustained functional therapy and an App that supports patients to do their activity-based rehabilitation every day for many (12–18) months.

Activity-based rehabilitation combines a range of physical motor and sensory gym-based activities provided by specialist exercise physiologists and physiotherapists trained in spinal cord rehabilitation. 

We need to test the feasibility of delivering the rehabilitation program prior to the commencement of the cell transplantation clinical trial. A feasibility study is important to identify barriers and improvements that can be made in preparation for the Phase I/IIa clinical trial.