SCI-TReCS - Spinal Cord Injury and Tissue Regeneration Center Salzburg

SCI-TReCS - Spinal Cord Injury and Tissue Regeneration Center Salzburg


The work of the University Clinic of Urology in the Spinal Cord Injury and Tissue Regeneration Center Salzburg (SCI-TReCS) encompasses basic, translational, and clinical research.

Basic research

The basic research of the SCI-TReCS Urology Team focuses on two core areas: repetitive measurement of bladder function in alert rodents and regenerative extracorporeal low-energy shockwave research.

Catamount research: Repetitive measurements of bladder function in preclinical models over an extended period of time allow us to test the potential of new pharmacological and neuromodulative therapeutic approaches in the model. In addition, dose-response studies can be carried out, and combinations of individual therapies can be tested. Various neurological disease models and their influence on the urinary bladder organ can also be tested. Performing this type of urinary bladder measurements is a new approach that is still rarely used worldwide. Catamount research provides us with valuable information about the potential of a therapy and sets the basic requirements for future therapies in humans.

Shock wave research: Extracorporeal low-energy shock waves show a high regenerative potential in many tissues. In fact, they are already being used clinically for a few disciplines. However, the underlying mechanisms of action are often not sufficiently understood. It is therefore difficult to establish correlations so that they can be used even more effectively in therapy. The focus is therefore on developing mechanisms of action of the extracorporeal low-energy shock wave in healthy and damaged tissues such as muscles, nerves, and the vascular network. In preclinical models, we analyse cellular and functional changes caused by shock wave therapy.

Translational research

Physiological similarities between preclinical models and humans enable us to test clinical questions in a basic experiment in order to draw reliable conclusions for humans. As a clinically oriented group, we focus a priori on patient care and align our research with this maxim.

On the basis of the large animal model, the effect of the cross-sectional injury (traumatisation of the spinal cord at varying intensities) on the dependent end organs and body parts can be intensively investigated. In preclinical models, the effects of spinal cord injury on the urinary tract can be investigated. At the same time, therapy approaches are examined for their effectiveness. Ongoing studies on suitable models and the extraction of tissue can provide comprehensive insights into the (patho-) physiology of humans; these could never be gained using humans alone. This enables us not only to specify clinical questions more precisely but also to define appropriate therapeutic approaches and test them in a clinical setting.

The preclinical model allows us to investigate the effects of a cross-sectional injury on the lower and upper urinary tract, nervous system, musculature, and tendons. At the same time, new therapy options can be tested in advance of an experimental situation in order to transfer the application to humans if these prove successful. The extent to which electrical nerve stimulation/modulation can have a positive effect on the urinary tract or the spinal cord itself and thus contribute to recovery and regeneration after trauma is currently being investigated.

Clinical research

Our focus is on the neuromodulation of the urinary bladder as well as influencing and maintaining its function. One focus is the development of alternative approaches to electrode placement so that neuromodulation is also available to patients who do not qualify for conventional therapy because of anatomical changes (incomplete cross-section in spina bifida).

Furthermore, the parameters for simulating nerves in various indications are investigated and improved through joint research work with our cooperation partners in order to further improve the quality of life for patients. International cooperation is essential for cross-sectional research with the aim of developing concepts that are relevant and applicable to all our patients as quickly as possible.