New drug development approach for brain injuries discovered

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

A new study has revealed a possible new therapeutic target that could improve clinical outcomes for brain injury patients.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science has determined that drug intervention to minimise intercellular signalling between astrocytes following traumatic brain injury can help reduce cognitive deficits and damage.

It was found that intercellular signaling between astrocytes plays a prominent role in cell death among brain-damaged patients, with a single injury in this area triggering widespread signaling through the astrocyte network that affects communication between neurons.

The team therefore assessed how these changes traveled through the astrocytes in the brain and in cell culture and isolated a specific type of signalling that can significantly reduce the response.

Study leader Dr David Meaney said: "We are very excited at the promise of this new direction for treating traumatic injury because it may represent a different angle of attack for treating a complicated disease."

Each year in England and Wales, around 700,000 people are admitted to hospital accident and emergency departments with a head injury, with around ten percent of these being considered moderate to severe, according to NHS data.

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