Sunday, January 17, 2010
One step closer to repairing the brain
It appears that a group at UC Irvine has been having some remarkable successes treating animals with stroke-like brain injuries using a protein called TGF-alpha (transforming growth factor alpha). You can read a summary of two of their studies here. (My own research is somewhat close to this, I have been examining the potential for proteins in the TGF-beta family to minimize damage or promote repair after traumatic brain injuries.) Now, obviously a lot of work still needs to be done to see if others can replicate this work, and to see if it will have the same effects in humans. But the research certainly looks promising. And any improvements would be welcome, since stroke is the number one cause of long-term disability in the U.S., and we currently lack any truly effective therapies. I am excited to see where this research will lead, and to see if we can have an effective treatment for stroke victims (and perhaps traumatic brain injury patients) sometime in the next 5 to 10 years.