University of Florida and Banyan Biomarkers Inc. to conduct NFL/GE-funded concussion research
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Banyan Biomarkers Inc. announced today that it has received a $300,000 award from the NFL and General Electric to improve detection of concussions through research led by a University of Florida football team physician.
The goal is to create a test that can diagnose brain injuries within 30 minutes by detecting specific proteins in blood, much the way a glucose meter gives instant warnings to diabetics.
Getting fast results could be critical to informing decisions about whether a soldier is fit to fight, a construction worker can go back on a beam, or a player can safely return to the field.
“Not only does an injured player sometimes appear to be fine, but he or she may try to conceal symptoms in their competitive zeal to get back on the field,” said Dr. Jay Clugston, the study’s principal investigator and a physician for UF’s sports teams. “We want to be able to detect even the mildest of concussions to protect our student-athletes.”
Banyan Biomarkers, headquartered in Alachua, Fla., is one of 16 national winners of the NFL and GE’s Head Health Challenge, which in addition to the money provides mentorship, access to GE researchers and a shot at an additional $500,000 next year.
“We are very excited to bring the basic science developed by the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida to the bedside of the victims of traumatic brain injury,” said Dr. Jackson Streeter, Banyan’s CEO.
Researchers will do finger-stick blood draws on consenting UF football, women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse players who get injured on the field and test for elevated protein levels that could indicate a concussion.
The blood will be sent to a lab, but results will inform efforts to develop the on-the-spot test. The research award will allow UF and Banyan Biomarkers to continue current blood testing efforts and incorporate advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) into the study to compare changes in blood proteins with imaging findings.
There are an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million sports-related traumatic brain injuries reported in the United States annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including concussions that can cause long-term damage.
About Banyan Biomarkers
Banyan Biomarkers, Inc., is focused on developing a simple point-of-care blood test that could be used by physicians to rapidly detect the presence of mild and moderate brain trauma and improve the medical management of head-injured patients. The company’s test uses two protein biomarkers (UCH-L1 and GFAP) that rapidly appear in the blood after a brain injury. To learn more about Banyan Biomarkers, visit www.banyanbio.com.