Adel Helmy has won this year’s prestigious EANS Aesculap prize for clinical neurosurgical research. The prize will be awarded during the EANS Congress in Prague in October. The importance of Adel’s research is outlined below:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI, head injury) is the commonest cause of death in those aged under 40 years. Despite more than two decades of clinical studies of neuroprotective drugs in TBI, they have universally failed to demonstrate clinical efficacy, even in large numbers of patients, despite impressive results in animal models. Several reasons have been suggested including an inability to demonstrate, in human patients, penetration of the drug across the blood brain barrier and at sufficient concentration to demonstrate a biological effect.
In this study we carried out a randomised control trial of Interleukin-1 Receptor antagonist, a putative neuroprotective agent, in patients with severe TBI and used cerebral microdialysis to demonstrate penetration of the systemically administered drug into the brain extracellular space. By measuring downstream cerebral cytokines and chemokines in the same patients we have been able to track the pattern of response to the administered cytokine inhibitor. An understanding of the underlying biological effects of promising pharmacological agents illuminate the pathological processes at play after TBI as well as informing larger phase III trials