History and Accomplishments of the North American Clinical Trials Network for Spinal Cord Injury, 2004-2022

Charles H. Tator*, James D. Guest, Chris J. Neal, Susan P. Howley, Elizabeth G. Toups, James S. Harrop, Bizhan Aarabi, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Michael G. Fehlings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This is a historical account of the origin and accomplishments of the North American Clinical Trials Network (NACTN) for traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), which was established in 2004 by Christopher Reeve and Robert Grossman. Christopher Reeve was an actor who became quadriplegic and started the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation (CDRF), and Robert Grossman was a neurosurgeon experienced in neurotrauma and a university professor in Houston. NACTN has member investigators at university and military centers in North America and has contributed greatly to the improvement of care, primarily acute care, of patients sustaining traumatic SCI. Its accomplishments are a clinical registry database of >1000 acute SCI patients documenting the care pathways, including complications. NACTN has assessed the effectiveness of treatment, including pharmacotherapy and the role and timing of surgery, and has also identified barriers to early surgery. The principal focus has been on improving neurological recovery. NACTN has trained many SCI practitioners and has collaborated with other SCI networks and organizations internationally to promote the care of SCI patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1823-1833
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number17-18
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • decompression
  • pharmacotherapy
  • spinal cord injury
  • surgery


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