Research Into Pioneering Treatment Ideas for Traumatic Brain Injury

Posted on April 25, 2022

Targeting cells using light wavelengths

The assistant professor of emergency medicine and integrative and molecular physiology at Michigan Medicine says that though the molecular events happening in the body during a TBI is complex and can vary, the organelles in cells or mitochondria aid them in staying energetic appear to be a common contributor to brain injury.

A non-invasive therapy that makes use of light wavelengths to aim at mitochondria and alter the molecular events happening inside cells during a brain injury was proposed by the research team.  

Valproic acid in TBI patients

Valproic acid is a medication usually used to treat patients with psychiatric disorders and epilepsy. Now, researchers hope it can be used to treat TBI.

For this cause, a funded project will further examine if valproic acid can effectively be used to treat patients with TBI. And if so, the funds will aid in supporting an Investigational New Drug application.

Point-of-care device to measure and monitor biomarkers in real-time

Researchers say Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the fluid found in the spinal cord, and the brain guards these vital body parts against trauma. Blood contains biomarkers that could play a role in how a TBI is monitored and diagnosed the progression of the injury.

Frederick Korley, M.D., Ph.D., and Mark Burns, Ph.D., proposed a portable, point-of-care device that could measure biomarkers in the blood and fluid and show the results within 15 minutes on a hand-held device, such as a smartphone.

Intranasal insulin therapy to protect the brain

Intranasal insulin, or insulin nasal spray, can successfully protect the brain when a high dose is administered to a TBI patient soon after injury. It is already in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease and stroke, but researchers hope to use it for TBI victims. 

The nasal spray quickens the capacity of the hormone to get to the brain through small blood vessels in the nose instead of when administered in the arm or stomach and waiting for it to enter and go through the bloodstream. 

The investigation team will study the neuroprotective effects of an early dose and a treatment strategy. And non-medical providers could administer the dose to a TBI patient right after the injury.

Device to monitor and measure systolic blood pressure

Systolic blood pressure is recorded the heart pushes blood through the arteries to the rest of the body, this indicates the pressure in the arteries. A critical drop in systolic blood pressure can dramatically worsen TBI. Unfortunately, monitoring below certain levels of systolic blood pressure is very difficult.

The research team had earlier developed a device that delivers automated, directed systolic blood pressure monitoring. In this project, the group will test and refine the next iteration of their device to ensure it can provide uninterrupted readings of a patient with TBI’s systolic blood pressure and keep it at a level needed for optimum TBI management.

Massey TBI Grand Challenge

The Massey family had their experience with TBI after a car accident injured their mother and wife, Joyce Massey. MCIRCC hopes to improve treatment and survival rates for patients that experience a TBI, thanks to funding from the Joyce and Don Massey Family Foundation, 

The Grand Challenge aims to get interdisciplinary teams together to produce high-impact, high-risk, milestone-driven solutions that address the golden hours of care, the treatment given during the initial hours after injury, especially the 24 - 48 hours of care after a severe TBI.

The Massey TBI Grand Challenge encourages researchers to develop “innovative and disruptive” TBI solutions and pitch them to national TBI experts, innovation and commercialization experts, an independent panel of clinicians, and Department of Defense representatives.