Facilitators and Barriers to International Collaboration in Spinal Cord Injury: Results from a Survey of Clinicians and Researchers

Noonan VK, Chan E, Bassett-Spiers K, Berlowitz DJ, Biering-Sørensen F, Charlifue S, Graco M, Hayes KC, Horsewell J, Joshi P, Markelis D, Smith V, Waheed Z, Brown DJ. Journal of Neurotrauma. 2017 doi: 10.1089/neu.2017.5036. [Epub ahead of print].

Summary: This paper presents findings from an international survey conducted with SCI clinicians and researchers that identifies barriers and facilitators to international SCI clinical research, potential initiatives for future international collaboration and the use of SCI-specific data sets and standards. The study identified several opportunities for greater collaboration and many of the top barriers (e.g. funding availability, funding timelines, research capacity) can be potentially offset by SCI study initiatives currently underway. One example is the International Spinal Data Network (ISDN) workshop held in 2015 which explored how SCI registries can partner to align data standards and share data.

A priority of Praxis’ Care Program is to identify gaps in knowledge and the requirements to fill them. The findings from this survey, as well as its companion survey on the perspectives of people living with SCI and the barriers and facilitators to their participation in clinical studies (Anderson et al., 2016), state the challenges that often prevent progression of important SCI clinical studies and provide insight into how to reduce this gap through international collaboration. Findings from both surveys will also support studies that are part of Praxis’ Cure Program by informing the design of SCI clinical trials.