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Treating Brain Injuries

July 6, 2016

Researchers are testing a new way to transport therapeutic drugs to the site of traumatic brain injuries.



Targeting brain injuries. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Traumatic brain injuries affect 2 1/2 million people every year in the U.S. alone, and few treatments are available to stave off long-term damage. Now, researchers at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have developed a simple compound called the CAQK peptide; when injected into mice, it selectively delivers therapeutic drugs to the site of a brain injury. Cell biologist Erkki Ruoslathi says this reduces the chance of side effects.

ERKKI RUOSLATHI (Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute):

I’ve never seen a peptide as effective as this one. We can direct more drug where it is needed, and reduce exposure of non-injured tissues.


His team reports in Nature Communications that the peptide also selectively binds to injured human brain tissue. But much more work remains before it can be tested in human clinical trials. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard