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Pathogenesis, detection and treatment of perinatal brain injury

72 months
Approved budget:
Professor Alistair Gunn
Health issue:
Obstetric complications/perinatal care
Proposal type:
Lay summary
Perinatal brain injury affects over a million babies around the world, and can lead to severe, lifelong disability. The key causes are low oxygen at birth and infection/inflammation. The team played a key role in developing therapeutic hypothermia, the first established treatment for brain injury after low oxygen at birth. In this programme we will use fetal sheep to assess leading strategies to augment hypothermic brain protection after low oxygen and promote long-term recovery of brain function. We will then evaluate whether a highly targeted treatment for infection/inflammation can protect the brain, and test whether protection can be improved by a peptide that can reduce spread of injury. Finally, we will examine whether treatments that alleviate chronic brain inflammation can also help restore brain growth. This highly translational programme of work will provide practical information on optimal use of new and existing treatments to further improve long-term outcomes in babies.