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Innovative adaptive international brain injury clinical trials platform secures $4.8 million in funding

Feb 13, 2024 – The BRAINapt international platform, dedicated to conducting clinical trials in traumatic brain injury within intensive care settings, has been awarded $4.8 million in funding over 5 years. This funding comes as a result of the latest competition for Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grants.

Led by Dr. Alexis Turgeon, Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Université Laval, Canada Research Chair in Critical Care Neurology and Trauma, and researcher at the Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval, the project will involve over 75 hospital centers worldwide, in some 20 countries on 4 continents.

“BRAINapt represents an innovative research platform that marks a paradigm shift in the field and will revolutionize research in traumatic brain injury and neurological intensive care. The platform not only facilitates the evaluation of multiple interventions simultaneously, but is also adaptive, allowing for the inclusion of promising new interventions over time,” explains Dr. Turgeon.

Thanks to its adaptive and collaborative approach, the patient-centered BRAINapt platform represents a significant advancement in the field of neurological intensive care and traumatic brain injury. Integrated into care systems, it aims to enhance the ability to conduct clinical trials in real-life care settings.

The platform is designed for deployment in both high-income countries intensive care units and lower-income countries to promote sustainable healthcare systems and strengthen local health services.

Eligible participants for the clinical trials will include adult patients admitted to an intensive care unit following moderate or severe traumatic brain injury. These trials will assess the efficacy of new treatments and intervention methods. The initial interventions under study will be related to the repurposing of pharmaceutical treatments used for other clinical conditions, with the potential to reduce mortality and improve long-term neurological capacity.

Traumatic brain injury currently represents a major public health challenge in Canada and globally. The mortality rate for patients admitted to an intensive care unit following a traumatic brain injury is nearly 40%, and a substantial proportion of survivors will experience major neurological sequelae in the long term, leading to considerable healthcare resource expenditure.

“Despite the high mortality and long-term sequelae associated with severe traumatic brain injury, there are few effective interventions and treatments available. BRAINapt will enable more efficient, rapid, and cost-effective clinical trials, ensuring meaningful results for patients,” adds Dr. Turgeon.

Co-principal investigators for the project include Dr. François Lauzier and Lynne Moore, also professors at Université Laval’s Faculty of Medicine and researchers at the Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval.

In addition to helping to improve the quality of care for patients, this initiative promises to strengthen the position of the Canada Research Chair in Critical Care Neurology and Trauma and position Canadian research teams as world leaders in traumatic brain injury research and treatment.

Funding for the BRAINapt platform is part of the Fall 2023 Project Grants competition of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, one of the country’s leading research funding agencies.