Addressing Head Injury Head On

By Kevin Hrusovsky, CEO And Executive Chairman, Quanterix

We’ve seen a 500 percent increase in youth concussion rates since 2010 – a scary percentage that is continuing to grow year over year. Not to mention, an estimated 5.3 million Americans live with a traumatic brain injury-related disability today, according to the CDC. What is needed to mitigate – and ultimately eliminate – today’s head health crisis? We believe an objective diagnostic test, focused on analyzing protein biomarkers found in the blood, is the only way for researchers and medical professionals to really slow down the staggering trend of concussion-related injuries and deaths.

Believe it or not, the brain is the only organ in the body without a blood test, which is largely because about 1/50th of the concentrations of proteins in the cerebral spinal fluid leak across the blood-brain barrier. This makes these proteins incredibly difficult to measure with today’s technology, however our Simoa platform has the ability to detect these minute proteins in a blood test for the first time, providing a much less invasive and equally accurate test for head injury. This is a critical breakthrough for neurology research, diagnostics and treatment.

In an effort to add to these advancements, we recently announced a strategic agreement with Banyan Biomarkers to further develop our informative resources that support neurological research and improve disease diagnosis and treatment. Our platform will incorporate the Banyan UCH-L1 and GFAP assays to expand on its applications and provide a more detailed view of biological health status post-head trauma. We’re including these markers in a new set of neuro-multiplex assays which, as a panel, will be highly informative to research in neurology.

Our goal is to continue arming our customers with the tools necessary to uncover new breakthroughs in this critical therapeutic area and, eventually, transform the way head injury is treated today. We’ve already seen significant discoveries in several neurology-focused research programs that have used Simoa across a wide range of variables and demographics, including professional hockey, Olympic boxing, the U.S. military and professional football.

Where Do We Go From Here?

As the concussion crisis continues to worsen, threatening young athletes across the U.S. that play contact sports, new medical tools and treatments are needed to mitigate the risk of these activities. Blood-based biomarkers are at the center of these emerging innovations that can help researchers understand how to reduce the long-term damage caused by TBI.

Through continued collaboration with researchers and other medical technology leaders, we look to be on the forefront of innovations in this therapeutic category as we moderate and ultimately eliminate the damaging impact of today’s concussion crisis.