Research Team Receives $6 Million from DARPA to Study TBI

Nanotechnology therapies, a revolutionary new method for “the treatment of traumatic brain injury and associated infections,” are getting a boost in research dollars to the tune of $6 million from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The multi-disciplinary research team awarded this money will be directed by Professor Michael J. Sailor, Ph.D., from the University of California San Diego.

A driving force behind the allocation of these dollars is data collected from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Battlefield casualties have resulted in skull injuries that make up 18 percent of all wounds, “according to the most recent estimate from the Joint Theater Trauma Registry.”

Clark C. Chen, M.D., Ph.D. of UC San Diego School of Medicine, and team member, elaborated on the nature of many head wounds, stating, “A major contributor to the mortality associated with a penetrating brain injury is the elevated risk of intracranial infection.” Chen went on to note “that projectiles drive contaminated foreign materials into neural tissue.”

The challenge confronting the medical profession in the case of treating projectile-related TBIs deals with the brain’s natural defense mechanism against infection, the physiological system known as the blood-brain barrier. When an infection takes hold, the blood-brain barrier makes it difficult to get antibiotics past it to treat the infection.

To learn more about treating TBI with this new technology, go to –

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