Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI is sustained from severe or mild damage to the brain tissue from accidents or assaults. In North America, over 1.7 million people suffer annually from TBI and the consequent medical care costs exceed USD 70 billion. According to WHO, the global incidence for TBI is close to 10 million people annually. Brain tissue has one of the least self-repair capabilities making it highly vulnerable to injuries and often leading to permanent loss or disability of motor functions which dramatically reduces the quality of life for any individual. Most neuronal damage occurs sometime after the injury takes place giving a chance for a therapeutic intervention. The previous intervention with Glucocorticoids is not considered due to their harmful effects.
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A major challenge in developing therapeutics for TBI lie in overcoming the blood-brain barrier while delivering drugs. In May 2013, DARPA awarded USD 6 million to develop nanotech therapy for combating TBI to a team from University of California San Diego. Nanotechnology offers chances to overcome this physiological challenge of blood-brain barrier to deliver therapeutics. These porous silicon nanoparticles can carry a significant drug load through the blood brain barrier to treat TBI in patients. Other potential treatments include stem cell therapy for CNS trauma and use of apoE-mimetic compounds. Cognosci, a privately held start-up from North Carolina, U.S. has novel therapeutic compounds in pipeline for the treatment of TBI which the company expects to launch in coming years with a strategic partnership alliance. Currently there are two notable clinical trials for gauging the capability of progesterone for traumatic brain injury. The ProTECT III (progesterone for traumatic brain injury) is currently conducted by the Emory University and is sponsored by the NIH. The study has recruited patients from 31 TBI clinical centers across the United States. SyNAPSe, initiated by BHR, a branch of Besins Pharma, in collaboration with the American Brain Injury Consortium (ABIC) and the European Brain Injury Consortium (EBIC), is another Phase III study investigating the efficacy and safety of progesterone in patients with severe traumatic brain injuries.
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Since there are currently no approved therapeutic products, the sector is teeming with opportunities for new entrants as well as stalwarts of the pharmaceutical industry. Some of the notable companies developing therapeutics for TBI are Cognosci, Medicortex, Amarantus BioScience Holdings, Aldagen, NeuroScience Pharmaceuticals and Targacept. Increasing incidences of TBI due to rising assaults, accidents and military combats over the world are expected to drive the growth of the market.
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