Almost a Perfect Storm: Therapy for TBI

With the burgeoning understanding of the cellular and biochemical effects of brain injury, pharmacologists can successfully intercede with more promising standardized treatment.

[Dr. Geoffrey Ling] So, for what reasons am I optimistic that we will actually have a meaningful therapy for traumatic brain injury within the next few years? I think it's based upon my understanding of where the science has evolved to. We are now understanding a lot about how physical forces injure the brain. So, that gives us an opportunity—now that we know how they do it— now we know how to prevent it. We now know a lot about the biochemical and cellular effects of a brain injury and how they evolve. And that's in fact where drugs have to work— they work at the cellular and the biochemical levels. So, now that you know how this process is going, you can now intercede appropriately. And that's the work of the pharmacologists as they develop new drugs. Already there are some promising drugs out there. Progesterone is a classic example. That drug is actually in phase 2 clinical trials right now because it already looked very promising in its phase 1. Phase 1 was a safety trial, but it still looked very, very good. And now there is a large trial going on so we're very hopeful. But there are others on the way right behind it based upon our better understanding of the cellular and chemical processes of brain injury. And finally, public awareness. This is no small thing; the public has to work with us to help us reduce the risks and the risky behaviors associated with brain injuries. So, all of these things are coming to pass right now together. It's almost a perfect storm.
Posted on BrainLine January 15, 2013.

Produced by Noel Gunther, Ashley Gilleland, and Erica Queen, BrainLine.