Watch Dr Andrew Fenning accept the research grant award and hear a bit about the project.
Repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (rmTBI) or concussion trauma, accounts for the majority of TBI cases worldwide and is currently a major focus in the public consciousness around many of our sporting codes. Its effects are far-reaching and include populations such as military personnel, domestic violence victims and athletes of contact-based sports. There is now an established link between rmTBI and the susceptibility for acquiring chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a longer term, more severe neurological disorder characterised by scarring, remodelling and plaque formation within the brain. Despite this, a clear understanding of how CTE develops from rmTBI is yet to be conclusively identified, and effective treatments for those suffering from or at risk of developing CTE are not available.
Our research, through the generous support of the Brain Foundation and their donor network, will enable our team to examine brain wide genetic changes following concussion trauma in a pre-clinical model. This analysis will allow us to identify key injury pathways which we can then treat with novel drugs such as rapamycin, berberine or guanidinoacetic acid to hopefully chart a course toward the development of further treatments for this debilitating condition. These drugs direct their action at cellular damage and encourage the brain cells to engage in cleaning and targeted repair processes. If these treatments prove successful, we will have a greater understanding of the how, where and why of concussion injury and avenues to prevent further damage.