Bob Yant

Injured in 1981 diving in the ocean at Newport Beach, 15 minutes from here.

Questions he was asked to answer:

Why did you get to be an advocate?  Always liked science and saw that it was going to be the path.

How did you start?  Thought if I could just raise $25,000 . . . here I am, $10 million and 31 years later.

When I got injured there was no national group at all.  The American Paralysis Association contacted me.  They became the Christopher Reeve Foundation, where I worked for 29 years.  Tried to work with the CA gov’t, but failed . . . the Reeds got legislation passed that led to $11 million in direct funding which turned into $87 million.

What’s changed?  The most important thing that hasn’t changed is that we don’t have a cure.  99% is not going to be enough.  There are many groups and labs now . . . Miami Project, the RIRC . . . the first neuroscience conference I went to, they sent the sci scientists over into a corner.  15 people.

What we heard this morning was truly wonderful — so much that’s new.

Cure Medical is his company .  . they make catheters, and give away 10% of their net profits to sci research, which has already been a substantial sum.

Speaking about what happened this morning .  . it went by really fast, especially if you don’t listen to this all the time.  About 9 years ago, I was a little frustrated.  The research wasn’t going as fast as I wanted it to.  I made a pros and cons list, like what have we done and what do we still need.

I polled 12 of the top scientists and asked them those questions.

I got a unanimous answer.  You need to regenerate the corticospinal tract (CST).  A brief anatomy lesson.  There are in the cord a lot of different tracts, but this is the one that controls voluntary movement, along with breathing, bladder, bowel . . .

Most of the cells in our bodies are circular, but nerve cells also have this axon coming of the circular part.  The axons are like strings coming off a tennis ball.  Our injuries break the strings, but they don’t kill the tennis balls.  So far, it hasn’t been shown that you can make those things grow.

This morning was almost like an out-of-body experience, watching Dr. Steward and Dr. Blackmore showing us that they’re DOING this now, in animals.  We’ve really, really come a long ways.

If you want to move, look at research that’s about regeneration of the corticospinal tract.

Okay, what about the acute vs chronic argument.  Isn’t the real question, can you regenerate the nerves? I say you try it in an acute, because you can get an answer so much more quickly.  Chronic experiments can take as long as a year, vs. only a couple of months for an acute.

I’m still for chronic research, but there are certain steps that make it faster to get where we want to go.  Find out if you can make therapies work in animals.

I think the promise is tremendous.  I think what we saw with Dr. Blackmore this morning is where sci research is going.  We’ve known the genes in CST for 8 years, but haven’t ever been able to make them grow.  There are also all sorts of new technologies and techniques that are going to move us toward answers much more quickly.

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2 Comments on “Bob Yant”

  1. Jerry w frisk Says:

    So much hope from reading all the blogs….god bless you all….i want my life back..can i live like this yes but i dont wish to…please help us in the sci recovery…im only 40 & have lotts to do still..curenow! Jer


  2. […]  Advocate Dennis Tesolat saying, “A hospital bed is a lonely place.”  Advocate Bob Yant saying that he went to the top 12 researchers in the world and asked each of them, “What have […]


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