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Brain trauma: the benefits of the NGF molecule taken nasally

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Brain trauma: the benefits of the NGF molecule taken nasally

Research by the Cnr-IFT of Rome demonstrates that the innovative treatment could reduce the effects and avoid the occurrence of motor-type disabilities.

L’Institute of Translational Pharmacology of the National Research Council (Cnr-IFT) in Rome has developed an innovative treatment, based on theinoculation of the molecule Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) via the nosewhich could reduce the effects of brain trauma and also avoid the occurrence of motor disabilities.


The trial, the results of which are published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, is part of a context of treatment in which it is necessary to act with maximum timeliness. It is known, in fact, that as a consequence of a brain trauma (primary lesion) can occur in a short time a succession of molecular and biochemical events such as to further worsen the damage.

The research was developed as part of a translational medicine project funded by the Ministry of Health which, in addition to Marzia Soligo e Luigi ManniCnr-Ift researchers, saw the involvement of clinical researchers from Gemelli Polyclinic Foundation in Romeled by professor Antonio Chiaretti. Treatments in the study involved the administration of human NGF su mouse models and, starting from the day following the end of the therapeutic cycle, the onset of symptoms of motor disability and the development of neuroinflammation.

Marzia Soligo, author of the research explains: “We know that these lesions can trigger a series of cascading consequences such as ischemia (due to a reduced blood supply), hypoxia (due to lack of oxygen) and neuroinflammation, which exacerbate the severity and increase the extension of the lesion, with often permanent and disabling results. Our study therefore arises from the need to prevent, or limit, some of these mechanisms that determine the onset of secondary damage”.

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Luigi Manni, first author of the research explains: “We were able to ascertain that this molecule, made available by Dompé farmaceutici, inoculated immediately after the brain trauma, manages to limit and prevent the development of secondary damages responsible for the generalized progression of brain damage, such as motor disabilities, both in the impact zone (parietal cortex) and in other areas of the brain, such as the hypothalamus. We know that traumatic brain injury (TBI), which represents one of the major problems in the field of neurology, causes approximately 1.5 million hospitalizations every year in Europe and the pediatric and adolescent populations are at high risk”.

Manni concludes: “As part of the project, moreover, the first clinical study authorized in Italy is being carried out which involves the use of NGF delivered to the brain via intranasal administration in children with severe TBI outcomes. Although this treatment is applied to patients with chronic trauma – that is, months after the trauma – the expectation is that these preclinical data may open to the exploration of the effects of early treatment with NGF, to be associated with primary care for those who have just suffered a serious brain injury.

Nurse Times editorial team

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