Traumatic Brain Injury: Advancing Preclinical Science

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Quote from Dr. Chantelle Ferland-Beckham

Cohen Veterans Bioscience Publishes Recommendations for the Advancement of Preclinical Science in Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain research and advocacy non-profit Cohen Veterans Bioscience (CVB) announces the publication of the third of six manuscripts resulting from its Brain Trauma Blueprint.

Published in the Journal of Neurotrauma on July 1, 2021 [DOI: 10.1089/neu.2021.0094], the article is titled “Roadmap for Advancing Preclinical Science in Traumatic Brain Injury.” The coauthored review discusses the state of preclinical research in traumatic brain injury (TBI), how preclinical models contribute to the success and failure of clinical solutions for TBI, and considerations for their improvement to aid translational science.

The review also discusses in depth the major categories of preclinical models of TBI, descriptions of biomechanics, injury distribution, and signature sequelae, as well as a review of key findings and publications for each category. The authors explain the complicating factors that hinder the application of the models, including the inability of any one preclinical model to translate to all human TBI pathology and the need for any potential therapy to be assessed in multiple relevant models before advancing to human trials.

Finally, the authors offer actionable recommendations regarding comprehensive assessment of preclinical model validity, cross-validation and standardization of behavioral tests designed to recapitulate deficits observed in humans following TBI, evaluation of candidate therapies for acute and chronic effects of TBI across multiple models, and standardization of experimental variables to improve the rigor, transparency, and reproducibility of preclinical research.

Quote from Dr. Douglas H. Smith

“Preclinical models have an important place in translational science, especially for disorders such as TBI where so much of the underlying biology is still unknown,” said Chantelle Ferland-Beckham, PhD, Director of Policy and Advocacy for CVB and a translational neuroscientist by training. “But it’s important not to overestimate what these models can tell us. CVB with our partners has made it an important part of our mission to critically evaluate preclinical models and ensure that they are used rigorously to best advance the science. This review is an important step in discussing the validity of current models and how we can design better models moving forward.”

“This publication reflects extensive discussions and debates amongst leaders in preclinical TBI research.  The effort culminated in this consensus overview of the state of the science in the field and the development of recommendations aimed at better harmonizing the large array of preclinical TBI models and improving their utility for translational studies,” said Douglas H. Smith, MD, Robert A. Groff Endowed Professor Neurosurgery and Director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania.


Advancing TBI Care Through a Research Roadmap

Authored by leading experts in the TBI field, a six-part series appearing in the Journal of Neurotrauma will lay the framework for a roadmap to advance the field based on a State-of-the-Science consensus conference held in 2019 with more than 125 leaders in the field. The first installment focused on the complex nature of brain trauma, how variability in clinical presentation (phenotypes) has confounded research, and a consensus roadmap recommending a streamlined method for data characterization.

Altogether, the TBI Precisions Solutions Roadmap will guide the development of actionable research priorities that frame the next phase of the roadmap over the coming months.

The authors of this publication are Douglas H. Smith, MD (University of Pennsylvania), Patrick M. Kochanek, MD (University of Pittsburgh), Susanna Rosi, PhD (University of California – San Francisco), Retsina Meyer, PhD (Delix Therapeutics), Chantelle Ferland-Beckham, PhD (Cohen Veterans Bioscience), Eric M. Prager, PhD (Cohen Veterans Bioscience), Stephen T. Ahlers, PhD (Naval Medical Research Center), and Fiona Crawford, PhD (The Roskamp Institute).

About Cohen Veterans Bioscience

Cohen Veterans Bioscience is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) biomedical research and technology organization dedicated to advancing brain health by fast-tracking precision diagnostics and tailored therapeutics.

About the Brain Trauma Blueprint

The Brain Trauma Blueprint is a framework to advance precision diagnostics and therapeutics for brain trauma through a process of community stakeholder consensus roadmapping and collaborative execution. More information can be found at