Sanford-Burnham News Archive

Burnham Stem Cell Project Receives Boost from Coalition for Brain Injury Research

LA JOLLA, Calif. , July 29, 2004

The Coalition for Brain Injury Research has awarded $25,000 to The Burnham Institute to support research exploring the use of stem cells for use in the development of treatments for traumatic brain injury. The funding has been directed to the laboratory of Evan Snyder , M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Program on Stem Cells and Regeneration in the Burnham Institute's Del E. Webb Center for Neuroscience and Aging.

Dennis Benigno , President of The Coalition for Brain Injury Research, comments on the importance of this project: "Traumatic brain injuries ("TBI") have a higher rate of occurrence than most major medical disorders, yet the field has never achieved the recognition it deserves. Twenty years ago my son Dennis John Benigno was struck by an automobile that resulted in a severe brain injury. Unable to walk or talk, his mother and I continue to care for him at home providing for his daily needs. Until recently the injured brain was thought of as something that could not be healed. That thinking has changed. Recent advances have shown that the brain can regenerate and, with help, may one day reverse the effects of TBI. Stem cell research offers that hope. For the first time, my son Dennis and other severely brain injured survivors can now hope for a better, more productive life. We at the Coalition for Brain Injury Research enthusiastically support Dr. Snyder's work in stem cell research because of its promise as an effective treatment for TBI survivors and their families."

Dr. Snyder, a pediatrician, is credited as one of the discoverers of neural plasticity, the idea that brain cells can regenerate. His observation overthrows the dogma that brain or nerve damage is irreparable. Some of Dr. Snyder's recent research published in Nature in November 2002 showed that it is possible to use neural stem cells as molecular scaffolding to stimulate the growth of spinal cord injury in mice. Funding from the Coalition for Brain Injury Research will be used to advance this work.

The Coalition for Brain Injury Research is dedicated to supporting and promoting research that will lead to a brain injury cure. Learn about the Coalition at www.brainjurycure.org.

About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute


Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham takes a collaborative approach to medical research with major programs in cancer, neurodegeneration and stem cells, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is recognized for its National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and expertise in drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit, independent institute that employs more than 1,000 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), Calif., and Orlando (Lake Nona), Fla. For more information, visit us at sanfordburnham.org.

Sanford-Burnham can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/sanfordburnham and on Twitter @sanfordburnham.

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