Science Daily reported this weekend on publication of the results of a new research effort seeking to improve the way traumatic brain injuries are treated. As our Chicago brain injury attorneys have often shared, we have a long way to go before comprehensive treatment options are available repair brain damage. As it currently stands, many who experience these harms–most commonly from things like car accidents, falls, and sports contact–have little recourse to recover fully following the injury.
Yet, more than at any time in the past, researchers are working on various efforts to hopefully better understand how these injuries arise and what can be done to reverse the damage. This latest study is just another step in the effort.
According to the report, scientists published information in the latest issue of the journal Brain which suggests that inhibiting enzymes can decrease traumatic brain injury severity. The research effort was led by two scientist who collaborated from across the globe (Switzerland and the United States) for over five years on the project. The fruits of their labor included gathering evidence that two particular enzymes work together to increase the severity of a brain injury shortly after it occurs–the enzymes are known as t-PA and MMP-3. These enzymes serves vital roles for the healthy patient but this new evidence suggest they exacerbate the problem following a brain injury.
At first researchers thought t-PA acted alone to cause harm. They eventually learned that not to be true. Instead, t-PA simply activated MMP-3, which is the enzyme actually responsible for making the brain injury worse. In other words, both enzymes work together. This is important, because it more fully opens up options to prevent the exacerbation.
As one of the lead researchers summarized, “Now we know that is we block MMP-3 with an inhibitor, we can protect the brain following TBI.”
Another researcher expanded on the possibilities opened up by the effort explaining that “We now have a new and promising therapeutic target for the treatment of human TBII, which has not, so far, been significantly improved by pharmacological intervention.”
As encouraging as these results are, however, it is important note to overemphasize the immediate effect it will have on patients. Right now there is still work to be done before the research can result in actual clinical trials to test the effect of the findings on actual patients. As with all medical research efforts, it will take time to actually translate the findings into patient benefit. However, each step toward that benefit should still be celebrated.
Each Illinois brain injury attorney at our firm will be following these developments closely. Not only are these medical advances of interest on a humanitarian level, but they also may impact future suits. A large part of injury lawsuits, including those involving brain damage, is providing those hurt with recourse to “make themselves whole.” That inherently includes examination of preventative and therapeutic options for those affected. Medical advances which chance those options will therefore affect various aspects of a brain injury suit.
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