New Treatment for Brain Swelling

Peter Humphries

(Best Syndication News) European researchers say they have come up with a new treatment to save the life of people suffering from swelling of the brain. Their method can safely manipulate the blood vessels in the brain to allow for a periodic opening of the channels between the blood vessels and the brain cell lining.

The goal is to relieve acute pressure on the brain caused by stroke, brain injury, tumors, or other conditions that can cause swelling. Over the years, there has been little change in the treatment of this condition, according to Dr. Matthew Campbell, of the Ocular Genetics Unit at Trinity College Dublin.

Research published in the international journal Nature Communications revealed that 66,000 die each year in Europe from cerebral oedema (edema or swelling of the brain), and there is an additional 1.6 million people admitted to the hospital.

"We developed the technique initially for treatment of neuronal edema in cases where injury has occurred to the visual cortex, the region of the brain involved in vision, in view of our Unit's profile in vision research, however, the same method can be used in alleviating edema in all parts of the brain," according to Dr. Campbell.

Professor Pete Humphries, Director of the Ocular Genetics Unit at Trinity College Dublin, agreed with the findings. "The medication is based on the use of RNA Interference, a demanding technology which has had a bumpy ride within the pharmaceuticals industry in recent years, and I am delighted that a highly effective and simply deployable therapeutic strategy has emerged based on this technology, Humphries said. “There is now a clear path to clinical deployment.”

Co-author of the published research, neurologist, Dr Colin Doherty, MD, St James's Hospital, Dublin, said brain swelling “is the single most common factor leading to death in Western society and plays a major role in worsening the outcome of those who survive.”

Doherty believes the therapy will have a profound impact on morbidity and mortality and will have reverberations though the public health system.

By: Jeffrey Workman
Health Reporter

Photo: Peter Humphries - Trinity College

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