Birth injuries can cause serious developmental disabilities and cerebral palsy. In 3 to 5 out of 1,000 births, babies are injured due to a lack of oxygen to their brain (an injury known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE). Researchers are constantly looking for new ways to decrease the severity of brain damage in babies with HIE, and they are now investigating a new class of neuroprotective molecules: IAIPS.
Researchers know that IAIPS (inter-alpha inhibitor proteins) are effective in modulating the body’s inflammatory response, but there is currently little information on how these molecules could act to protect babies’ brains – information that could potentially be useful in treating babies with perinatal brain injuries. Researcher Barbara Stonestreet (neonatal-perinatal specialist at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and Professor of Pediatrics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University) is collaborating with Dr. Yow-Pin Lim (MD, PhD, founder and CEO of ProThera Biologics) to determine the most effective treatment methods for helping full-term and premature babies with brain injuries such as HIE. This research is supposed by two two-year grants from the NIH.
According to Dr. Stonestreet, “These studies have exciting translational potential for an important new treatment strategy to prevent or decrease brain injury in infants at risk for brain damage, [intellectual disability] or cerebral palsy.”
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