According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly three million people seek emergency room care for brain injuries each year. Likewise, evidence continues to mount showing how detrimental some sports (soccer, football, hockey, etc.) may be to the brain. In fact, a recent radiology report indicates youths playing football have brain MRI changes after a single season. Given this information, there is clearly a desperate need for concussion symptoms treatment. Fortunately, Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one company that’s taking on this challenge. This neuromedicine startup might have discovered an approach that may dramatically change concussion symptoms treatment for the future.
Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals Set to Begin Human Drug Trials
James Lechleiter, co-founder of Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals actually discovered the company’s concussion symptoms treatment drug over a decade ago. The original research began while he was at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonia. However, Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals was not founded until 2014. Lechleiter partnered with William Korinek, former VP of Research and Development Business Operations at Pfizer. The two decided to begin their own start-up, and things have taken off since.
Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals has now acquired significant startup funding from a variety of sources.
In addition to $2.3 million obtained during pre-A round funding, Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals recently received a $3 million grant from NIH. Because of this ,the company plans to begin Phase I trials of its concussion symptoms treatment in 2020. Based on drug trials in laboratory mice, Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals has seen promising results.
When mice receive the concussion symptoms treatment within an hour of blunt trauma, positive effects are evident. If the human trials show the same effects, Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals could completely change current head trauma care.
Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals Approach to Concussion Symptoms Treatment
In terms of Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals neuromedicine approach, their concussion symptoms treatment is unique. When a concussion or brain injury occurs, several things can happen. Nerve fibers may tear or twist from the impact itself. Inflammatory proteins and chemicals may flood an area and cause damage. These effects occur within seconds to hours after injury, and attempts to reduce these effects to date have been ineffective. Ideally, a concussion symptoms treatment would be able to reduce these harmful effects and promote healing immediately.
For Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals, their potential concussion symptoms treatment involves the company’s namesake…the astrocyte. Astrocytes are the brain’s caretaker cells that help repair injury and reduce inflammation.
Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals has thus developed a small molecular drug that stimulates astrocytes to “do their thing.” By boosting astrocytes’ energy systems, their concussion symptoms treatment hopes to reduce the potential damage brain injuries might cause.
Future Concussion Symptoms Treatment – A Recipe of Neuromedicines?
Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals is part of a handful of companies exploring new concussion symptoms treatments. For example, Oxeia, based in San Diego, is testing Ghrelin as a potential neuroprotective agent in brain injury. Likewise, Prevacus, based in Tallahassee, is experimenting with alternative forms of inhaled progesterone for the same purpose. Depending on pending drug trials, any of these agents may offer new hope for concussion symptoms treatment. Moreover, Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals’ drug may simply be a part of a neuromedicine “cocktail” individuals receive after a head injury.
Today, there is a growing recognition of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a serious condition. CTE can cause a number of problems for individuals including serious cognitive and emotional disturbances. While prevention remains a priority, it is also important for new concussion symptoms treatments to be developed as well. Hopefully, Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals and other startups will soon offer better options of care for those suffering from head injuries. As a result, many of the devastating consequences often seen can hopefully be avoided.