Grant to Fund IUPUI Study on 'Water on the Brain'

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Bonnie Blazer-Yost is leading the research team at IUPUI. Bonnie Blazer-Yost is leading the research team at IUPUI.
INDIANAPOLIS -

A team of researchers from IUPUI is using a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study hydrocephalus and develop potential treatments. The university says the team is conducting a preclinical evaluation of drug compounds that could be used to treat the condition known as "water on the brain."

Hydrocephalus is a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid which can lead to irreversible brain and nerve damage that could be fatal. It can be caused by traumatic brain injuries, brain bleeds from prematurity in newborns, birth defects and infections. 

The university says the condition can occur at any age and the only current treatment is brain surgery, which comes with its own risks and may need to be repeated.

"If drugs could be developed to diminish the production of cerebrospinal fluid, they would be a tremendous benefit to all hydrocephalic patients, including those who do not have easy emergency access to neurosurgical care such as those deployed in military situations," said Bonnie Blazer-Yost, professor of biology in the School of Science. "One roadblock to developing drugs to treat hydrocephalus has been lack of cell culture and animal models that faithfully reproduce the disease. We now have those, and we have identified a compound that has a positive effect on the cultured cells and also seems beneficial in hydrocephalus in rodent brains."

Blazer-Yost is the principal investigator on the team, which also includes professors of biology, neurological surgery, psychology, and radiology and imaging sciences at IUPUI and the IU School of Medicine. She says the team's goal is that their research will lead to the development of pharmaceutical agents that will be evaluated in clinical trials for the treatment of the hydrocephalus.

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