Trial to assess progesterone in treating traumatic brain injury

About 1.4 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year from auto accidents, sports injuries and violence, among other causes. In fact, about 20% of the soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from TBI. Researchers say improvements are needed in quickly determining the severity of TBIs so the victims can be properly treated. That's why the National Institutes of Health is spending $2.2 million on a study of biomarkers in the blood of TBI patients.

"Rapid clinical assessment of the severity of TBI is a critical factor in diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Yet current methods of assessment are inadequate and often inaccurate and there is a tremendous need for improvement," Emory School of Medicine's Michael Frankel said in a statement.

Emory researchers are going to work with colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Michigan and Florida-based Banyan Biomarkers in a Phase III clinical trial called ProTECT III, which is assessing the use of progesterone to treat TBI.

Several years ago, Emory researchers found that if they gave progesterone to trauma victims shortly after brain injury, it reduced the risk of death and long-term disability. The ProTECT III trials builds off that knowledge, evaluating the relationship between progesterone treatment, biomarker levels and outcome, the researchers said.

"This will not only help us assess the effectiveness of using progesterone to treat TBI, but will lead us to a more tailored approach for treatment of these patients," Frankel said in a news release.

- read the release from Emory University
- and learn more about the ProTECT III trials