Newsletter Winter 2021

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Winter Newsletter


Newsletter Winter 2020




Despite the ongoing difficulties faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the construction work on the laboratory at Wroclaw Medical University was able to continue. We are delighted to announce that this large-scale capital project is nearly complete. The required ventilation unit has been installed on the roof and in a matter of days the final unit will be placed in the lab.

Once complete, all equipment will be validated and approval sought from the Polish Ministry of Health and Good Medical Practice. When restrictions are lifted the second patient will return to Poland in preparation for a 2021 procedure.

The first patient, Darek Fidyka, continues to progress through his rehabilitation programme. Dr. Pawel Tabakow noted visible improvement in spine stability and muscle coordination.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, the whole Walk Again team remains committed to driving forward the project in the pursuit of developing a cure for paralysis from SCI.





The 1st of November marked the commencement of the next exciting phase of the OEC project at UCL. After many months of government restrictions inhibiting their return, the team led by Professor Ying Li, is keen to make up for lost ground. The project, funded by nsif and one other UK charity over a two-year period, will focus on olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) and the optimum conditions to increase the yield, improve cell survival and transplantation methods. The study has been adopted by the Government’s National Institute for Health Research and has received interest from across the scientific community. The cell technologies developed at UCL will continue to feed into the body of knowledge utilized by the Walk Again Project. Their work will also lay the vital foundations for a robust future UK clinical trial. More to follow on this over the months ahead...

We are honored to continue our funding relationship with the team at UCL and their pioneering work into a cure for paralysis from spinal cord injury.





We would like to say a BIG thank you to all those that walked, ran, cycled, drove and climbed stairs in aid of nsif this year. Your continued support during lockdown and beyond has helped raise thousands of pounds towards changing the future of spinal cord injury?

Newsletter Winter 2019

The most recent fundraiser, held on the 6th and 7th September 2019 saw John, their younger son Bobby and six other nsif supporters, cycle an impressive 262 miles from the Severn Bridge to the Humber Bridge. The team of cyclists were even welcomed home with a nsif celebratory cake!

Angela and John’s goal for 2019 was to reach the milestone of raising a total of £100,000. The Bridge to Bridge Challenge has enabled them to achieve this landmark.


The event in isolation raising £6,538, takes the total raised by the Hull & East Riding branch over the years to a huge £102,348!!

We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of Angela and John, as well as the team of cyclists who completed the challenge last month!!


As you may be aware, we have faced some challenges this year due to the ground-breaking nature of the Wroclaw Walk Again Project in Poland. In 2018 we were notified that the project must adhere to EU legislation issued by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).This is because the procedure developed by the UCL team requires the manipulation of human tissue as a treatment for paralysis as a result of SCI.


The use of human tissue understandably means that the process should be very tightly regulated, as with any pharmaceutical destined to treat human beings. In order to satisfy the EMA’s criteria, new high-tech machinery had to be purchased and upgrades made to the laboratory’s ventilation system.
It is planned for the machinery to be in place by the close of 2019. At this point applications to several regulatory bodies, including the Polish Ministry of Health, will be required in order to proceed.


When all approvals have been granted, the project will advance full steam ahead, but this time with the backing of the EMA, whose job it is to foster scientific excellence in the evaluation and supervision of medicines. Gaining certification from the EMA is no small feat. Overcoming the hurdles presented, whilst time-consuming, ultimately gives the project even greater credibility within the scientific community.
The second patient has already received a full course of pre-operative rehabilitation. After examination by the team of world-class independent assessors, no signs of improvement have been noted. This means any improvements to sensation or movement will be as a result of the surgical procedure, not spontaneous recovery.


Due to the delays outlined, the patient will undergo another short course of rehabilitation to ensure they are at optimum fitness ready for the procedure.  It is hoped that this will take place in the first half of 2020. As with the first patient, Darek Fidyka, it will take nine to twelve months before the team are able to observe signs of sensory improvement. Only then will we be able to gauge how successful the procedure has been.
We are incredibly excited about the future and proud of all the efforts made by the teams at UCL and out in Wroclaw. Since Darek’s procedure, new innovations have been developed to improve both the cell transplantation technique and the surgical procedure that will be used. As a result of these developments, it is expected that outcomes will surpass those previously achieved.

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