Novel ways to limit damage following neurotrauma

The clinical problem my team is dedicated to solving is secondary degeneration following neurotrauma. My vision for the next four years is to advance the field by providing the necessary pre-clinical data to bring treatment strategies with strong translational &/or commercialisation potential to the clinic. As such, our work has the potential to be transformative, and have a strong impact on an issue of major importance to human health.

My team uses combinations of Ca2+ channel inhibitors that have been shown to be effective at limiting secondary degeneration following neurotrauma. We are exploiting cutting edge approaches including Nanoscale secondary ion mass spectroscopy (NanoSIMS), to optimise and conclusively demonstrate the mechanism of action of this promising treatment strategy. We are the only laboratory worldwide using this technology to directly track outcomes of therapeutic strategies in vivo and our work is expanding research capacity in this area. We are assessing efficacy of the optimised treatment combinations using the most clinically relevant models of spinal cord and traumatic brain injury, building on successful collaborations within UWA and beyond.

Our work will provide the necessary pre-clinical data for translation of combinations of Ca2+ channel inhibitors to the clinic. Importantly, our research may provide a therapeutic option for traumatic brain injury, the most debilitating and prevalent form of neurotrauma presented to clinicians in Australia. We capitalise on strong collaborative networks to incorporate effective combinations of Ca2+ channel inhibitors into multi-faceted combinatorial treatment strategies. Combinatorial strategies being developed include irradiation therapy and our highly innovative, commercially attractive and patent protected multi-functional nanoparticles for targeted delivery of therapeutics to treat secondary degeneration.