Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Invests $3.5 Million to Advance Bowel and Bladder Therapies

By: Tracey Wheeler

People living with spinal cord injury (SCI) have said it loud and clear:  improving bowel and bladder care is an urgent issue.  The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation has taken action to address this by issuing its first ever Request for Applications (RFA) for proposals from cross-disciplinary, collaborative teams with plans to address bowel or bladder dysfunction in a meaningful way in the next ten years.  Six grantees will receive funding totaling over $3.5 million dollars.

Following a three-day think tank in 2017, five research priorities were identified to address issues of the utmost importance to people living with SCI.  Immediate action was taken on one — the Foundation partnered with the Paralyzed Veterans of America to accelerate updating the Bowel Management Clinical Practice Guidelines, which will be completed in 2020.  However, the need for improved treatments of these vital functions still remains.

Through the Foundation’s RFA, six new grants were approved in October 2019 that collectively cover a wide range of goals, from ensuring continence to providing safe, effective control of voiding, and preventing other health complications.  Using devices, drugs, diet and/or physical rehabilitative approaches, these investigative teams will work to help people with SCI know when it’s time to head to the restroom, help them empty their bladder (or not) as desired, as well as promoting healthy bladder and bowel function.

Not being able “to go” when you need to is a serious health risk, and fearing “accidents” in public can dramatically reduce a person’s participation in activities of all kinds.  The Foundation is committed to advancing research that helps individuals with SCI live full and productive lives as active participants in their communities.