Working towards a drug to limit brain injury

Working towards a drug to limit brain injury
Credit: University of New South Wales

UNSW medical researchers in the Translational Neuroscience Facility are partnering with a drug development company to discover new treatments to limit the damage of traumatic brain injury.

NSW researchers are teaming with an Australian drug development company to discover new treatments for the debilitating after-effects of , including stroke.

The research is focusing on the "cascade" effect that occurs after the primary injury, where damage continues to brain cells for hours and days after the primary injury event.

The collaboration with drug developers Noxopharm could result in the design of a neuroprotective compound that blocks the ability of calcium to enter healthy , stemming the tide of damage.

This cascade of cell death that occurs in the brain and spinal cord after stroke is called excitotoxicity, and accounts for most of the lost nerve function in .

The condition involves the release of chemicals from damaged nerve cells (neurons) that results in calcium flooding into neighbouring healthy nerve cells and eventually killing the cells.

UNSW Scientia Professor Gary Housley says at present there are no neuroprotective treatments for stroke, one of Australia's leading killers and causes of disability.

"For many who survive stroke, there remains huge rehabilitation challenges ahead for them, their families and the community," Professor Housley says.

"One of our hopes for this work is that we will identify a compound that's effective at providing some protection from the avalanche effect of ."

Excitotoxicity also occurs in , epilepsy and in neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

The research partners aim to have a lead compound identified by the end of 2017.

Citation: Working towards a drug to limit brain injury (2017, March 16) retrieved 29 January 2023 from
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