Research Projects

Asterias - AST-OPC1-01/02

The AST-OPC1 clinical trial injected oligodendrocyte progenitor cells derived from human embryonic stem cells directly into the spinal cord of patients with cervical spinal cord injury. Participants are evaluated for neurological improvement with a target of 45-50% of participants recovering at least 2 ISNCSCI motor levels on (at least) one side. The enrollment for this study closed at the end of 2017, but the safety follow-up period will continue for 15 years. SCVMC was the first site in the United States injecting 20 million stem cells into the spinal cord of a patient with ASIA A as well as a patient with ASIA B. SCVMC is a leading enrollment site for this national clinical trial. 

For more information, please contact Nhung Quach at; or 408-885-3962.

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Riluzole in Spinal Cord Injury Study (RISCIS) is a multi-center, double blinded, placebo controlled study to evaluate efficacy and safety of Riluzole for individuals with acute cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). The primary objective is to evaluate the superiority of Riluzole as compared to placebo, in improving motor outcomes as measured by ASIA Motor Score at 6 months follow-up, in patients with acute traumatic spinal cord injury, presenting to hospital less than 12 hours after injury. The target for enrollment is 351 participants across all sites. RISCIS at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is starting February 2018. 

For more information, please contact Arshad Ali at;


SCiPad: Mobile Health (mHealth) Using iPad's with Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries Project is an innovative project that enables patient-provider encounters to occur anywhere a wireless connection is available. The 6-month program provides an efficient and effective option for long-distance, live, interactive patient-provider communication to first and foremost, address a patient's needs expeditiously via the use of an iPad. Although the study closed for enrollment in October 2017, our center continues to follow and support participants within their 6-month window, as well as participants who have completed the study and continues to schedule telemedicine appointments with our SCI outpatient clinic. 

For more information on this study, please contact Cria-May Khong at;


The Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) National Database is a prospective, longitudinal study actively recruiting study participants at multiple centers across the U.S. Its purpose is to assess recovery and outcomes following multi-disciplinary treatment in acute neurotrauma and inpatient rehabilitation. Our center is currently enrolling participants during their rehabilitation stay (Form I) and completing follow-up interviews (Form II) at years 1, 2, 5, and every 5 years thereafter from their date of injury. As of January 2018, our center has enrolled over 790 participants and is completing follow-up interviews with participants up to 25 years post-injury. 

For more information on this study, please contact Jussely Morfin at;


The Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) National Database is a prospective longitudinal multicenter study in the U.S. that captures an estimated 6% of new SCI cases, and has a database of 32,159 individuals with SCI as of 2016. Our center is one of the nineteen centers currently conducting follow-up research (Form II) in areas of rehabilitation, health & wellness, emotional distress, technology, and hospitalization. The purpose of the study is to track the long-term consequences of SCI after exiting the healthcare system and through their rest of life. To date, our center has followed over 2,400 participants for up to 45 years post-injury. 

For more information on this study, please contact Cria-May Khong at;


The TRACK-SCI collaborative is a unique partnership between the VA Palo Alto, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG), UCSF Brain and Spinal Injury Center (BASIC) and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC). This partnership provides an exceptional platform for the discovery and testing of acute, critical care practices that optimize recovery in spinal cord injury patients. The aim of this collaboration is to provide data for driving evidence-based recommendations and guidelines for the treatment of acute SCI. 

For more information, please contact Arshad Ali at;

Weight Management in Spinal Cord Injury -  Intervention and Monitoring via Tele-Nutrition

Dr. Kazuko Shem and Shelley Wood (RDN) were awarded a Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation grant in June to study tele-nutrition counseling after a spinal cord injury (SCI). Participants will receive an iPad and assistive devices to remotely receive dietary counseling two times a month via FaceTime. Participants will also receive a YouAte (photo journal application) membership to record meals. Shelley will use this information to educate participants in healthy weight management and accommodate any cultural and behavioral habits. This project will be enrolling participants from August 2018-March 2019.

For more information on this study, please contact Cria-May Khong at;

Tele-psychology intervention for individuals with spinal cord injury and depression

This study will provide cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) through Facetime on an iPad to persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) and depression after injury. Therapy provided via Facetime is called tele-psychology. This type of therapy may decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve satisfaction with life. The participants in the therapy group will receive 10 tele-psychology sessions over 12 weeks, provided by a study psychologist. The study team will compare results once therapy is completed and then again 12-weeks later to pre-therapy measures to see if the intervention was effective.​

For more information on this study, please contact Cria-May Khong at;