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Stem Cells Could Aid in Healing Traumatic Brain Injury

Nov. 23, 2012

Scientists from the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and the Clement Zablocki VA Medical Center received a one-year, $20,000 grant from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin (CTSI) to study the capacity of stem cells derived from bone marrow to assist in the healing of traumatic brain injury.

The primary investigator of the study is Aleksandra Glavaski-Joksimovic, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurosurgery; co-primary investigator is Milan Joksimovic, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy at MCW.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a considerable health problem with no effective therapy. There is increasing evidence that bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSC) have potential to migrate toward the site of trauma and stimulate recovery of the damaged brain tissue after TBI. Researchers in this study aim to learn more the mechanisms contributing to that migration and restoration.

This is one of 19 pilot projects being funded in 2012 through CTSI. The goal is to create synergy through collaboration, and studies are specifically designed to lead to major future research support. The projects explore findings that have the potential to be translated into clinical practice and community health, and are led by investigators at the CTSI’s eight partnering institutions: the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, UW-Milwaukee, Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the VA Medical Center, and the BloodCenter of Wisconsin.

CTSI is part of a national consortium of top medical research institutions. Working together, the CTSI institutions are committed to improve human health by streamlining science, transforming training environments and improving the conduct, quality and dissemination of clinical and translational research. The CTSI program is led by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Support for the Pilot Award Program comes from the National Institutes of Health, the John and Jeanne Byrnes CTSI Award, and both MCW’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin program, and MCW’s Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center.

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