Ionica Sciences

McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences

Cornell University

413 Weill Hall

Ithaca, NY 14853

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MILD TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

Ionica Sciences has initiated the development of rapid blood test for the detection of traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI encompasses both concussive and sub-concussive trauma, is suffered by an estimated 42 million people annually. It has recently garnered attention as a significant concern in two broad populations: warfighters, and amateur and professional athletes. Many cases of TBI do not display obvious outward wound or injury, often making TBI difficult to diagnose at the scene of the injury. Further, many cognitive or neurological symptoms associated with mild and moderate TBI, such as confusion, impaired reasoning, and memory loss, do not manifest themselves immediately and require significant skill and interpretation on the part of the medical professional making the assessment. If suffered repeatedly, TBI has been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is frequently observed in professional football players.

 

Using tau and other TBI-related proteins, such as CCL11, to detect TBI is not only cost effective and minimally invasive, but may also aid in identifying patients who require referrals for additional neurological assessment or other follow-up examination.

 

Tau, a microtubule binding protein, has been cited as being in the blood at measurable levels following TBI. Tau appears to mediate the response to these physical stress forces in nerve cells; however, inertial stress beyond threshold limits can disrupt microtubule networks, leading to tau protein leaking into the blood. Other protein species, including CCL11, have also been reported to be an increased protein target for detection of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in retired professional American football players with posthumously diagnosed CTE. The protein, which is associated with inflammation in the brain, has correlated with the amount of time football players have been involved in the sport.

 

As revealed by these studies, numerous promising serological TBI marker candidates that are easily identified in blood, making diagnostic tools able to rapidly assess the presence of TBI that both significantly more important, and accessible.