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Research

The laboratory of Daniel Laskowitz, MD, MHS and its associated Translational Research group is committed to developing new therapies that address unmet clinical need in acute brain injuries (such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, and intracranial hemorrhage) as well as chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The motivation for this research efforts stems from my more than 25 years of personal experience caring for patients with stroke, trauma, intracranial hemorrhage, and neurological disease.

Our research efforts have translated several new drugs from mechanistic and animal modeling, through regulatory hurdles, and are now in clinical trials for stroke, traumatic brain injury, intracranial and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Through our work with the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) we have initiated trials that evaluate innovative and first-in class therapies for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit disorder, and stem cells for acute stroke and post-stroke recovery.

In conjunction with Brad Kolls, MD, PhD, MMCi, and Haichen Wang, MD, the Laskowitz lab has developed clinically relevant rodent models of acute injuries such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, subarachnoid and intracranial hemorrhage, spinal cord injury, as well as more chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s disease. Many of these models have been used to translate first-in-class therapies from the bench to clinical trials. One example of this is CN-105, a peptide therapeutic that was derived from basic research in our lab evaluating the protective effects of apolipiprotein E, a naturally occurring brain protein in the setting of brain injury such as acute brain trauma, intracranial hemorrhage, stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and Alzheimer’s disease. After decades of basic research and animal modeling, CN-105 represents a lead candidate that has advanced through Phase 1 safety studies and is now being tested in clinical trials of intracranial hemorrhage and peri-operative cognitive dysfunction.

Additional compounds have also advanced from preclinical studies to clinical trials, including NP10679, a neuroprotective compound for which we have demonstrated efficacy in subarachnoid hemorrhage, and is now completing a first-to-human clinical trial. We have also demonstrated efficacy of another first-in-class compound TT-30.MW189 in models of acute brain injury; this drug has recently completed first-in-human clinical trials.

These successes in advancing new therapies from the bench to innovative and first in man clinical trials are driven by the commitment of our translational research team, many of whom are physicians have been caring for patients for decades. Successful translational research requires a multidisciplinary approach, and our group includes clinicians, animal surgeons, and faculty with expertise in molecular and cell biology, as well as faculty with expertise regulatory affairs. The physical and cognitive disabilities associated with neurological disease can be devastating. Although there are often multiple sources of funding for basic science research, funding our mission in translational research can often be challenging. If you would like to partner with us to help us develop new therapies that directly improve the lives of patients with neurological disease, learn more here.