Miami Project Researchers Hunt for Drugs to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury

Dietrich and Bramlett hope to identify and develop drugs that reduce swelling, improve blood flow, limit neuronal damage and prevent cognitive impairments after mild, moderate or severe traumatic brain injury.

“This new program will allow for a well orchestrated attack on traumatic brain injury and will identify new therapies for these devastating injuries,” said Dietrich.

In light of military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, finding new ways to treat blast and penetrating brain injuries is becoming increasingly important to military operations throughout the world. Traumatic brain injury also continues to be a major health problem in the United States with approximately 1.5 million cases each year.

The consortium will be led by trauma experts at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Center for Resuscitation Research, the Neuroprotection Program at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the Virginia Commonwealth University Neuroscience Center, and Banyan Biomarkers, Inc. With funding from the consortium, these centers, representing some of the leading researchers in the world targeting clinical and experimental traumatic brain injury, will provide critical information for moving new therapies to the clinic.

Researchers will screen drugs in a variety of well-established, pre-clinical models and find those that hold the greatest promise for treating traumatic brain injury. The drugs that are most successful across institutions will advance to higher tiers of experiments involving greater complexity that better mimic a real clinical situation. Through this two-tier screening process, researchers will determine which drugs will be considered for clinical trials.

The consortium is funded for a five-year period with a budget of approximately $7.4 million.