Evening to celebrate spinal-cord research


November 19, 2012 - Award-winning actor, author and spinal cord research advocate Alec Baldwin will headline Western’s Leaders in Innovation Dinner celebrating two decades of groundbreaking spinal cord research at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry’s Robarts Research Institute.

The dinner is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19 at the London Convention Centre.

More than 12,000 spinal cord injuries occur each year in North America, and approximately 275,000 people live with permanent, serious disabilities due to spinal cord injury. More than 80 per cent of all spinal cord injuries occur to individuals under the age of 34.  Robarts’ scientists Lynne Weaver, Greg Dekaban, Arthur Brown, Paula Foster, and their teams have made significant research breakthroughs providing new hope for improved neurological outcomes that will enhance the quality of life for people living with a spinal cord injury.

At the event, V. Reggie Edgerton, PhD, UCLA distinguished professor in the Department of Integrated Biology and Physiology, will receive the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine. Edgerton’s research pioneered the rehabilitation strategy of treadmill training after a spinal cord injury, and the added benefits of epidural electrical stimulation. Last year, Edgerton and his colleagues published a paper in Lancet showing how a person who was completely paralyzed for more than two years, was able to stand independently and have some voluntary leg movement using epidural spinal stimulation and treadmill training. This exciting breakthrough is now being followed up in a study with additional patients.

Baldwin is a longtime supporter of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation which was established after the Superman star was paralyzed in a 1995 equestrian accident. Last year, Baldwin shared the stage with Meryl Streep co-hosting a fundraising gala for the foundation. Baldwin has appeared in more than 40 films, including Beetlejuice, The Hunt for Red October, It’s Complicated and Rock of Ages, as well as on television on NBC’s 30 Rock.

Tickets are available here