SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 8, 2014) A researcher in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio received a U.S. patent Dec. 31 for his discovery that a class of compounds is protective against traumatic brain injury (TBI). The patent, No. 8,618,074, covers novel methods of preventing or treating neuronal damage, and work is continuing on development of potential therapies for TBI based on this invention.
Cell, animal and human studies
James D. Lechleiter, Ph.D., professor of cellular and structural biology at the Health Science Center, reported the findings in cell and animal models in peer-reviewed journals. Studies yet to be published extend the results to human brain tissue obtained from patients who underwent temporal lobectomies to curb treatment-resistant epilepsy. Dr. Lechleiter filed the patent application in 2007 and worked closely with the Health Science Center's Office of Technology Transfer and Commercialization (OTTC). "OTTC was invaluable in shepherding my application through the patenting process," Dr. Lechleiter said. "They really championed the patent at critical junctures."
Brain caretaker cells stimulated
He found that two compounds stimulate the ability of the brain's caretaker cells (called astrocytes) to do their job. The compounds, called 2-methylthio-ADP and MRS2365, are among a class of compounds called purinergic receptor ligands. "Normally people want to block things to stop injury," Dr. Lechleiter said. "We're saying let's stimulate the natural caretakers of the brain, part of whose job is to help control edema." Edema is swelling that compresses brain tissue and neurons while increasing pressure inside the skull.
Hope for new class of safe, effective drugs
Dr. Lechleiter and Murat Digicaylioglu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neurosurgery in the School of Medicine, published a study showing that, after an injury to the
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University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio