| traumatic brain injury

Is a Cancer Drug the Next Breakthrough in Treating Concussion?

Paclitaxel Shown to Protect Against Effects of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI)

New research conducted by a team from the University of Washington and University of Utah Health may have uncovered a breakthrough in the treatment of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Working with mouse models, the researchers report that the FDA-approved cancer medication paclitaxel appears to protect against the effects of MTBI. First author Donna Cross, PhD, research associate professor in Radiology and Imaging Sciences at U of U Health, commented, “This drug shows promise for reducing brain injuries and may also help fortify the brain against the effects of future head injuries. I believe this work is the tip of the iceberg that could transform how we treat traumatic brain injuries.” The findings were published online last week in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Paclitaxel, a proven chemotherapy agent, works by stabilizing microtubules, the support beams that provide shape to cells and a means for molecular movement through the cell cytoplasm. The authors hypothesized that the drug might therefore stabilize the support beam structure in neurons that are damaged in MTBI. The team found that mice that were treated with paclitaxel following an MTBI event were protected from memory loss and exhibited fewer brain abnormalities on examination via MRI. Dr. Cross continued, “Concussive forces to the head can affect all of the cells in your brain. We believe paclitaxel stabilizes many different cell types, to help circumvent the downstream cascade of events following a brain injury.”

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Read about the research.

The study abstract may be read here.

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