Michigan Tech Company to Test TBI Memory Drug

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Medical advances in traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment often seem to come from exotic places. But this time it is a tech company from Grand Rapids, Michigan that is bringing a new TBI memory drug to head injury victims. Human clinical trials will begin as early as 2017.

Every year, an estimated 1.7 million people suffer from a traumatic brain injury according to the U.S. Department of Defense estimates that e. Of those, 52,000 die and 275,000 are hospitalized.

After a concussion or TBI, two of the most common complaints are learning and memory issues. In the months following a head injury, 8 out of 10 patients have to address some form of learning problem. In severe cases of TBI, that could even involve relearning everyday functions, like speech or balance.

Now, a tech company from Grand Rapids, Michigan called Tetra Discovery Partners is making strides toward a memory drug that could help thousands of TBI patients. Mark Gurney, Ph.D., Tetra’s CEO, has partnered with researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Miami Project to Cure Paralysis to test the drug and bring it to market.

In July, the team published the results of a three month test of the phosphodiesterase 4 subtype inhibitor (PDE4B) on rats. Their research shows that TBI prevents brain neurons from creating or using a particular protein that is critical for memory formation, called CREB. But TBI prevents CREB from being formed. PDE4B increases CREB activation, significantly reversing TBI-induced memory deficits.

“We are very encouraged by these preclinical studies showing the potential of selective inhibition of PDE4B as a strategy for restoring cognitive function during recovery from TBI,” Gurney, told Drug Discovery & Development magazine. “We look forward to continuing our efforts with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Miami Project to Cure Paralysis to develop a successful treatment for this important medical need.”

The new TBI memory drug is well on its way to consumers. Gurney anticipates that human medical trials could begin at the University of Miami as early as 2017. Dr. W. Dalton Dietrich, scientific director of the Miami Project and Kinetic Concepts told Mlive.com:

“This project represents an excellent example of a collaboration between academic researchers studying animal models of brain injury and a biotech company with expertise in human clinical trials,” Dietrich said. “We expect that this collaboration with Tetra will yield a new clinical trial using this therapeutic strategy in human TBI survivors.”

Clinical trials could pave the way to patients receiving meaningful treatment for TBI memory problems in the near future. This could bring relief to thousands of brain injury victims who struggle every day just to live life like they used to.

David Christensen is a brain injury expert at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He represents the victims of brain injury accidents against insurance companies. If you suffer from TBI, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.