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Traumatic brain injury: NIH-funded researchers will assess biomarkers for diagnosis and treatment
Date:8/3/2011

Biomarkers in the bloodstream could provide physicians with a quick and accurate method of assessing the severity of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and helping deliver and monitor the results of therapies, such as progesterone treatment.

Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine, using a new $2.2 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, will study biomarkers in the blood of TBI patients, working with colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Michigan and Banyan Biomarkers, Inc. The patients will already be enrolled in the NIH-funded Phase III clinical trial called ProTECT III (Progesterone for Traumatic brain injury, Experimental Clinical Treatment), assessing the use of progesterone to treat TBI in 1,140 patients at 17 centers nationwide.

"Rapid clinical assessment of the severity of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a critical factor in diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Yet current methods of assessment are inadequate and often inaccurate and there is a tremendous need for improvement," says Michael Frankel, MD, professor of neurology at Emory School of Medicine, Director of Grady Hospital's Marcus Stroke & Neuroscience Center, and principal investigator of the NIH-sponsored biomarker grant.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.4 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year, leading to 275,000 hospitalizations, 80,000 disabilities, and 52,000 deaths. In the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts, approximately 20 percent of combat personnel suffer TBI.

Acute TBI leads to a cascade of cellular events set in motion by the initial injury that ultimately lead to cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), cellular disruption and sometimes death. Tissue breakdown leads to the release of proteins into the bloodstream. Several studies have shown that blood biomarkers correlate with outcome
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Contact: Holly Korschun
hkorsch@emory.edu
404-727-3990
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

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