Kessler Impact Report 1

Kessler Foundation. Your Support Changes Lives: Impact Report 2021

Thanks to support from Jay Lieberman of the Derfner Foundation and donors like you, a team of scientists and clinicians at the Derfner-Lieberman Laboratory for Regenerative Rehabilitation Research explores new ways to accelerate recovery for people with disabling musculoskeletal injuries. Founded just four years ago, the Derfner-Lieberman Laboratory in the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research at Kessler Foundation has gained a national reputation for innovation. Early successes with pilot studies attracted interest in larger studies, with grants awarded from state and federal sources. Added support from the Derfner Foundation and you has expanded opportunities for research and clinical fellowships, strengthening this unique partnership for translating research advances to clinical care.

Researchers leading these efforts are Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD, who directs the Derfner-Lieberman Laboratory and the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research at Kessler Foundation; Gerard Malanga, MD, director of New Jersey Regenerative Institute and a visiting scientist at Kessler Foundation; Nathan Hogaboom, PhD, the first Derfner-Lieberman Fellow, now co- director of the Derfner-Lieberman Laboratory.

In 2020, Dr. Hogaboom was named a Rising Star of Regenerative Research by the Alliance for Regenerative Rehabilitation Research and Training, in partnership with the International Consortium for Regenerative Rehabilitation.

The team’s initial success with this regenerative approach has expanded to other musculoskeletal injuries. A new study investigates the application of the alternative treatment to military personnel with torn meniscus in the knee, a common reason for limited duty. “If our less invasive treatment proves effective, recovery time will be much shorter than with surgery, and we lower risk for complications,” says Dr. Malanga.

Another new study will test a device, the Cervigard Neck Collar, for treating neck pain in the military population. “Analgesics may not only lead to addiction and accidental overdose, but can impair cognitive and physical functions critical to safety and performance,” explains Dr. Malanga. “Short-term noninvasive therapy using the neck collar device is one positive approach.”

The goal of this research: Help people recover as quickly and as fully as possible.