A $2.2 million grant will allow the University of Louisville and Frazier Rehab Institute to establish a new program to broaden their research and care in spinal cord injury cases.

The research element will examine the effect of the drug baclofen on locomotion in chronic spinal cord injury patients, said Dr. Susan Harkema, a U of L professor and director of research for Frazier Rehab, who will be the lead investigator in the study.

The new Frazier Rehab and Neuroscience Spinal Cord Injury Model System will join 13 similar model systems across the nation, officials announced Wednesday.

Through the model system, researchers from U of L and Frazier Rehab will broaden the scope of care for traumatic spinal cord patients, officials said at a news conference.

Researchers also will conduct evidence-based research on a drug frequently given to spinal cord injury patients and enroll patients in a national database that aims to standardize and improve methods of care.

“The model system designation is only a beginning — it’s the foundation on which you lay your research,” said Dr. Daniel Graves, who in December will join U of L and Frazier Rehab as the principal investigator on the grant. Graves is currently an associate professor at the Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Institute of Rehabilitation and Research in Houston.

The Frazier Rehab model system will collect data on about 40 patients per year, said Dr. Darryl Kaelin, chief of the division of physical medicine and rehabilitation for U of L’s Department of Neurosurgery and medical director of Frazier Rehab.

If you or someone you know has suffered a spinal cord injury as the result of an accident contact the  personal injury lawyers at the Alexander Law Group, LLP by email or call 888.777.1776. All calls free and confidential.