HOUSTON (November 29, 2011)

The Memorial Hermann Foundation has raised almost $8 million for The Staman Ogilvie Fund for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery, Rehabilitation & Research. The Ogilvie Fund set out to raise $10 million for the development of new technologies and equipment to increase movement for those with spinal cord injuries; and innovative research to restore the function after spinal cord injury through adult stem cell therapy.

Staman Ogilvie suffered a spinal cord injury in a bicycle accident in June 2009, and since then has led a crusade to bring new techniques in neuroscience for patients just like him. The fund has provided researchers with means to make extraordinary discoveries, including the use of stem cells to regenerate the fatty layer around the spinal cord to restore electrical pathways for spinal nerves not significantly damaged during an injury. Through breakthroughs in stem cell therapy, investigators have successfully restored function to spinal nerves for select patients. Complementing this research, the fund contributes to adaptive technology research and the development of new equipment to increase movement for those with spinal cord injuries. The Ogilvie Fund seeks to generate practical solutions, increase movement and provide hope for people with neurological disabilities.

The Ogilvie Fund operates in collaboration with the finest programs in medicine and technology. The collaborative effort between the Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, TIRR Memorial Hermann, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, and Rice University School of Engineering sets the highest standards in scholarly and applied research in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

This partnership of outstanding programs allows for the very best medical advancements for spinal cord recovery and rehabilitation. Indeed, not only do investigators make tangible progress toward the benefit and comfort of patients impacted by traumatic injury or illness to the spinal cord or brain, but they are able to incorporate their findings in medical education and biomedical engineering through the Adaptive Technology Program. “The Adaptive Technology Program incorporates delicate equipment to help patients regain abilities and independence, such as exoskeleton robotic devices that assist patients with natural motions made impossible by injury to the spine and brain,” states Gerard Francisco, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at TIRR Memorial Hermann. “Currently, there are no other groups in Houston doing such work,” added Dr. Francisco, who is also chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UTHealth.

Ogilvie continues to receive most of his treatment at the Mischer Neuroscience Institute and TIRR Memorial Hermann. “My paralysis means that I need round-the-clock attendants to help me accomplish basic things, and yet, I am one of the very, very lucky ones,” he said. “This program will dramatically advance rehabilitation and recovery options for patients who have suffered a spinal cord injury- some from disease, accidents, or sports injuries such as mine,” added Ogilvie.

Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center is the only institution in the Greater Houston area to provide a full continuum of neuroscience care from its Level I trauma center to neurological surgery or treatment at The Mischer Neuroscience Institute to rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann. TIRR Memorial Hermann is one of seven designated centers in the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network and has been ranked one of America’s Best Rehabilitation Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for the past 21 years.