Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation gives $1.25 million to Medical College of Wisconsin

Will fund spinal cord injury research

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The Waukesha-based Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation is giving $1.25 million for neuroscience research at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

The award will support MCW’s Center for Neurotrauma Research in the Department of Neurosurgery to fund spinal cord injury research.

BRPF has previously supported MCW with grants totaling more than $1.2 million, including a $1 million endowment in 2010. Smaller seed grants from the foundation to MCW have helped the medical college secure $6 million research funding from the National Institutes of Helath, VA and other sponsors, for larger studies that have led to advanced diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation for spinal cord injury.

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“MCW has truly earned that,” said Bryon Riesch, president of the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation and a member of MCW’s Neuroscience Research Center board. “They’ve worked hard, and we’re so proud to be able to support them and make the next 10 to 20 years that much more exciting.”

Riesch was paralyzed in an accident 21 years ago while an undergraduate student at Marquette University. MCW research has led to quality of life improvements for those who are paralyzed, including Riesch. MCW doctors were able to insert a pump into his back to help treat his debilitating back spasms and reduced his medications.

Those types of advances were once thought impossible, according to Dr. Shekar Kurpad, Sanford J. Larson Professor and chairman in the department of neurosurgery at MCW.

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“I’d like to see Bryon walk,” Kurpad said. “I’d like to see other patients with spinal cord injuries walk. Now it’s our job as scientists and physicians to find out how to harness the knowledge to make a practical difference.”


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