- Free Consultations / No Fees Until We Win
- (213) 927-3700
Personal Injury Firm
In a new study, researchers at the University of Georgia’s Regenerative Biosciences Center have reportedly demonstrated the long-term benefits of a hydrogel, which they call “brain glue,” for the treatment of traumatic brain injury. The new study provided evidence that not only does the gel protect against loss of brain tissue after a severe injury, but it also might aid in functional neural repair.
Brain damage following significant TBI commonly results in extensive tissue loss and long-term disability. There are an estimated 5.3 million people living with a permanent disability related to traumatic brain injury in the U.S. today, which cost $38 billion a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There currently are no clinical treatments to prevent the resulting cognitive impairments or tissue loss.
The new findings by the team at UGA are the first to provide visual and functional evidence of the repair of brain neural circuits involved in reach-to-grasp movement in brain glue-implanted animals following severe TBI. Lead investigator Lohitash Karumbaiah, an associate professor in the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, reportedly explained: “Our work provides a holistic view of what’s going on in the recovery of the damaged region while the animal is accomplishing a specific reach-and-grasp task.”
Created by Karumbaiah, brain glue was designed to mimic the structure and function of the meshwork of sugars that support brain cells. The gel contains key structures that bind to basic fibroblast growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor, two protective protein factors that can enhance the survival and regrowth of brain cells after severe TBI.
In a prior short-term study, the brain glue significantly protected brain tissue from severe TBI damage. In this new research, Karumbaiah and his team further engineered the delivery surface of protective factors to help accelerate the regeneration and functional activity of brain cells in order to harness the neuroprotective capacity of the original. After 10 weeks, the results were apparent.
“Animal subjects that were implanted with the brain glue actually showed repair of severely damaged tissue of the brain,” Karumbaiah said. “The animals also elicited a quicker recovery time compared to subjects without these materials.” He also pointed out that the RTG circuit is evolutionarily similar in rats and humans. “The modulation of this circuit in the rat could help speed up clinical translation of brain glue for humans,” he said.
With support from UGA’s Innovation Gateway, Karumbaiah has filed for a patent on the brain glue.
Charles Latchoumane, research scientist in the Karumbaiah lab and first author on the study said the research had been four to five years in the making. “”Our collaborative research is so painstakingly documented that, after you read about it, you have to believe there is new hope for severe victims of brain injury.”x