Biogel To Help Treat Brain Injuries
A biogel that spurs on the growth of stem cells may help wounded soldiers recover from brain injuries....
A grant from the US Defense Department is funding the development of a bio-gel that could help wounded soldiers recover from brain injuries.
The gel, consisting of a mixture of synthetic and natural chemicals, helps the growth of neural stem cells which in turn, repair damaged nerves.
The new procedure involves injecting the bio-gel into the wound site. This aids the growth of neural stem cells, helping to regenerate normal brain tissue and nerve cells.
After promising studies on rats scientists in the US say the treatment could be ready for patient trials in as little as three years.
Modern protective clothing and equipment has led to larger numbers of combat soldiers suffering serious injuries who previously would have died.
Many sustain head wounds and brain damage from explosions and gunfire.
Dr Ning Zhang, who led the biogel development team at Clemson University in South Carolina, US, said:
“We have seen an increase in brain injuries due to combat, but our strategy can also potentially be applied to head injuries caused by car accidents, falls and gunshot wounds…
”These results that we are seeing in adult lab rats are the first of its kind and show a sustained functional recovery in the animal model of TBI (traumatic brain injury). It also represents one of very few in the traumatic brain injury field that attempts structural repair of the lesion cavity using a tissue-engineering approach.”
Details of the new bio-gel were presented 3rd September at the Military Research Forum in Kansas City, US – a meeting geared towards medical advances that aid members of the armed forces.
Current techniques for treating traumatic brain injury include hypothermia – or cooling – and protecting surviving nerve cells with chemical agents, but their success is limited.
Researchers now hope the bio-gel will begin testing phase within three years, and will later become a useful treatment for wounded soldiers with head injuries.
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