UCSF Part of Large International Research Collaboration on Traumatic Brain Injury!

UCSF will play a vital role in a new research project being awarded $18.8 million over five years by the National Institutes of Health. The award will support an international study on concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI).  UC San Francisco will administer the NIH award, one of the largest international research collaborations ever coordinated.

The $18.8 million award will support a team of researchers at more than 20 institutions throughout the U.S. who are participating in the International Traumatic Brain Injury (InTBIR) Initiative. The collaborative effort will also include participation from the European Commission, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, The NIH and the U.S. Department of Defense.

InTBIR is a continuation and expansion of the UCSF-led and NIH-funded TRACK-TBI project, a study that has demonstrated the value of gathering common data across research sites, including a standardized approach to imaging, clinical data, bio-specimens and tracking outcomes. Radiology has come to play and important part in TRACK-TBI. Reported cases of concussion, or TBI that were classified as mild by standard criteria but show abnormalities in early MRI exams, are much more likely to have worse outcomes three months after the scan compared to those in which no abnormalities are revealed by a scan. Further, we found that elevated blood levels of a protein released during brain injury was associated with the likelihood of an abnormal CT scan.

Though TBI and its long-term effects have gotten more public attention recently, especially due to their connection with the military and athletes, TBI associated with automobile accidents and other common accidents impact many more people. Many of those individuals are never even diagnosed with TBI. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions estimates that 2 percent of the population now lives with TBI-caused disabilities, at an annual cost of $77 billion. Further, it’s a contributing factor for a third of all injury-related deaths in the U.S.

With the InTBIR, our researchers aim to refine and improve diagnosis and treatment of TBI, as it’s frequently undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, misunderstood or undertreated, despite the very real and negative health effects of TBI.  Additionally, we aim to create a widely accessible, comprehensive “TBI information commons” in order to integrate clinical, imaging, proteomic, genomic and outcome biomarkers to improve classification of TBI and better optimize selection and assignment of patients for clinical trials. Another goal of the program is to be able to assess patient outcomes across all phases of recovery and at all levels of TBI severity. This will help us to determine which tests, treatments and services are effective and appropriate for patients.

For more information on the InTBIR, please click here.

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