TGen and Collaborators Receive $4 Million Grant to Focus on RNA Biomarkers of Brain Injuries

In an effort to lower medical costs, identify patients at risk for injury, and speed patient recovery, scientists will attempt to identify a molecular signal that indicates severity of brain injury during a $4 million, five-year federal grant to Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix Children's Hospital, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) (image). TGen made this announcement in a press release dated December 4, 2013. Additional partners in the study include the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University. The molecular profile - comprised of extracellular RNAs- could help identify which patients are most at risk for vasospasm after hemorrhagic stroke. Hemorrhagic stroke can occur as: subarachnoid hemorrhage, or the bleeding into the area between the brain and a thin membrane that covers it; ruptured brain aneurysm, which is an abnormal bulge or ballooning in the wall of an artery within the brain. By identifying RNA molecular markers, a new standard of individualized care could be established, enabling medical teams to respond more rapidly to quickly changing health conditions, and allowing earlier intervention to prevent a secondary injury from occurring. "We hope this study will lead to less injury, less testing and cost, and shorter stays in the hospital," said Dr. Yashar Kalani, M.D., Ph.D., a resident physician in Neurological Surgery and assistant professor at the Barrow Neurological Institute and one of the study's principal investigators. Additional investigators at Barrow include Drs. Robert Spetzler, Peter Nakaji, Felipe Albuquerque, and Cameron McDougall. Vasospasms are characterized by bleeding in the brain that causes irritation and nearby blood vessels to spasm and narrow.
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