Daniel Laskowitz, Bradley Knolls, Hana Dawson
Novel solutions to enhance and restore neurological function
Moving Ahead with Promising Brain Injury Therapy
[Originally published September 5, 2014 on www.ctsi.duke.edu]
Daniel Laskowitz receives $100,000 from NCBiotech to further translational research on promising peptide for neuro-protective drug
Each year approximately 795,000 Americans suffer a brain injury from stroke, and 2.4 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury. These injuries can result in loss of mobility, language skills, and memories. Unfortunately, there are few therapies for treating brain injuries after they have happened.
Dr. Daniel Laskowitz, Professor of Neurology at Duke, (pictured) recently received $100,000 from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center(link is external) (NCBiotech) to continue the development of a treatment he believes could prevent much of the suffering that comes from brain injury. The grant, which creates a collaboration between NCBiotech, Duke, and the Duke spin-off Cerenova, will explore a promising therapy involving a small nerve protecting protein.
This collaborative award will allow Laskowitz to apply for an investigational new drug approval from the FDA and move his nerve protecting protein into Phase I clinical trials, the next step in the translation of an idea to proven therapy.
The collaboration with NCBiotech is the latest in a series of alliances that have moved Laskowitz’s neuroscience discoveries from the laboratory closer to new therapies for the patients he treats as a practicing clinician.
Two years ago, Laskowitz received a Coulter Award(link is external) with co-investigator, Cameron (Dale) Bass, associate research professor in Duke’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. At the time, there were therapies for stroke patients that limited brain damage by eliminating blood clots. However, the two Duke researchers set out to further the pilot study findings to perfect a neuro-protective drug for these patients. They discovered a specific peptide which, given intravenously, attaches to receptors and improves outcomes in both closed head and blast brain injuries when tested in animal models. This peptide works by blocking brain inflammatory responses, edema, and swelling.
Moving this animal model data into something that can change clinical practice is the next step in the translational research process. However, Laskowitz faces common questions and challenges: How do you find continuing funding for this translational research? What’s the most efficient way to apply for FDA approval of this drug? How do you make and test the drug?