Traumatic brain injury experts devise ways to speed development of new treatments

GALVESTON, Texas – A group of prominent traumatic brain injury researchers has recommended a standardized set of procedures designed to enable scientists to make greater progress toward helping people recover from injuries.

TBI researchers from across the globe met in Galveston for a meeting hosted by UTMB’s Moody Project for Translational Traumatic Brain Injury Research.

“We’ve identified some of the missing approaches in current TBI treatment research efforts, and suggested steps to address them,” said Douglas DeWitt, UTMB Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. “We offer a set of guidelines that make it more likely that therapies shown to be effective in preclinical studies will also improve outcomes in people suffering from TBI.”

The group assembled at UTMB reviewed the work conducted recently and found ways to improve the pipeline from preclinical research to human clinical trials and ultimately to the health care providers. The findings of the meeting are detailed in a recent issue of the Journal of Neurotrauma.

For instance, the researchers suggested approaches for designing pre-clinical and clinical studies simultaneously, so that are better aligned with one another. They also suggested guidelines that would further ensure that the TBI participants in the clinical studies are more representative of the whole TBI population at large.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are about 1.7 million new TBIs per year in the U.S. In addition to new TBIs, there are about 5.3 million people in the U.S. and 7.7 million people in Europe who suffer from the long-term consequences of TBI, often for many years after an injury. The CDC estimates medical costs of TBI at more than $76 billion annually in the United States.

Despite the large number of promising neuroprotective agents identified in experimental TBI studies, none has yet shown meaningful improvements in long-term clinical trials.

Other authors include UTMB’s Bridget Hawkins and Donald Prough; C. Edward Dixon and Patrick Kochanek from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; William Armstead, David Meaney and Douglas Smith from the University of Pennsylvania; Cameron Bass from Duke University; Helen Bramlett and W. Dalton Dietrich from The University of Miami; András Büki from the Medical University of Pecs; Adam Ferguson from the University of California, San Francisco; Edward Hall from the University of Kentucky Medical Center; Ronald Hayes from Banyan Laboratories; Col. Sidney Hinds from the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command; Michelle LaPlaca from the Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University; Joseph Long and Deborah Shear from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Stefania Mondello from the University of Messina; Linda Noble-Haeusslein from The University of Texas at Austin; Samuel Poloyac from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy; Claudia Robertson from Baylor College of Medicine; Kathryn Saatman from the University of Kentucky; Sandy Shultz from The University of Melbourne; Alex Valadka from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine; Pamela VandeVord from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Liying Zhang from Wayne State University.



The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston