Published March 6, 2017
David Poulsen, PhD, professor of translational neuroscience in the Department of Neurosurgery, has received $966,000 in private funding to further study a novel neuroprotective agent for moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Poulsen’s previous work on developing therapies to treat injuries to the central nervous system strongly suggest that phenoxybenzamine is highly neuroprotective when given within eight hours after a severe TBI.
Phenoxybenzamine is an FDA-approved treatment for humans and animals to reduce hypertension and excessive sweating associated with adrenal tumors, but Poulsen says it may also may exert a neuroprotective effect by reducing neuroinflammation after TBI.
Poulsen’s new study — titled “Preclinical Therapeutic Window Study of Phenoxybenzamine in Moderate-Severely Injured TBI Rats” — encompasses several goals:
“This will define how long after injury phenoxybenzamine can be given and still produce a beneficial effect,” Poulsen says.
“This will provide us with a comprehensive picture of the neuropathology that occurs in the brain following TBI and help us to understand what molecular mechanisms are involved in phenoxybenzamine-mediated neuroprotection,” Poulsen says.
TBI is a national health concern that affects more than 1.7 million individuals each year in the United States.
Of further concern is the lack of effective treatments to reduce the primary or secondary phase of neuropathology induced by TBI, Poulsen notes.
“The development of novel neuroprotective agents has proven difficult, as TBI represents a heterologous injury,” he says.
Poulsen is principal investigator on the two-year project, which is funded by NeuroTrauma Sciences, LLC.
“The company is focused on the development of safe and effective neuroprotective treatments for stroke and TBI,” Poulsen says.