NeuRA researchers awarded $2.22m in MRFF funding to reduce pain for people with spinal cord injury

Professor Sylvia Gustin from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and UNSW Sydney has been awarded $2.22 million for a randomised controlled trial focused on neuropathic pain in people with spinal cord injuries, that has the potential to inform patient care from hospitalisation to home-based self-management.

Although loss of mobility is often considered the most serious consequence of spinal cord injury, individuals consistently rate neuropathic pain as one of the most difficult and debilitating problems they have to deal with.

Professor Gustin’s NeuRoStiM trial will investigate the efficacy of an interactive brain-computer interface neuromodulation treatment combined with transcranial direct current stimulation.  This advanced neuromodulation treatment teaches people who have neuropathic pain after a spinal cord injury to gain control over their abnormal brain rhythms via electroencephalography neurofeedback in a way that reduces their pain.

The placebo-controlled trial is a critical integration of clinical, biological, and technological advancements in neuropathic pain and spinal cord injury research. It aims to provide a major sustainable advance in pain management that has tangible implications in the improvement of quality of life of individuals living with a spinal cord injury.

As effective pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments remain elusive, there is an urgent need to test new treatments for neuropathic pain,” said Prof Sylvia Gustin, from NeuRA and UNSW Science.

This novel brain technology treatment has the potential to support people who have developed neuropathic pain after a spinal cord injury across Australia, including those in regional, rural, and remote areas where access to pain treatment is limited.”

17 April 2024

Expertise & facilities

Centre for Pain IMPACT