The University of Texas at Austin is among 11 US public and private institutions awarded funding by the Department of Defense to support advances in traumatic brain injury (TBI) research. A news release from the university states that the public-private partnership is intended to encourage the development of better-run clinical trials, with an ultimate goal of developing the first successful treatments for TBI.

The release reports that the 5-year $17 million award, launched October 1, unites leading academic clinician-scientists and industry leaders in biotechnology and imaging technology, with patient advocacy organizations, and with philanthropies.

The university’s psychology professors, Alex Valadka, and David Schnyer, will join the national team of researchers in gathering a wide variety of long-term data from existing studies and databases, and integrating these into a dataset that can be analyzed for TBI associations and causes in a way that the release says was not previously possible.  Geoffrey Manley, MD, PhD, chief of neurosurgery, San Francisco General Hospital, will serve as principal investigator.

Schnyer emphasizes his feelings of honor to “be a part of this critical endeavor lead by Dr. Geoffrey Manley and his team at UCSF and supported by the Defense Department, National Institutes of Health, General Electric and Seattle’s One Mind.”

The release notes that the research collaborators will work directly with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conceive improved methods for selecting patients for clinical trials and improved ways to measure patient outcomes that may help pave the way to the identification of effective TBI treatments.

The research initiative, known as the TBI Endpoints Development (TED) Award, is designed to overcome the difficulty in demonstrating the effectiveness of drugs and medical devices by actively involving the FDA in clinical-trial design from the start.

Source: University of Austin at Texas