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Neuroscience Institute

Clinical Research

The neurotrauma program at AGH has been actively involved in clinical trials since 1985. AGH was the leading enroller of patients into the NIH-sponsored National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Trials (NASCIS) II and III (enrollment 173; 21% of patients enrolled nationwide) which discovered the only effective medical treatment to date to ameliorate some of the disability suffered after a SCI. For his work with the NASCIS studies, Dr Wilberger received the Wakeman Award in the Neurosciences from Duke University in 1990. AGH was also actively involved in the GM-1 ganglioside randomized controlled clinical trial- the largest SCI clinical trial ever undertaken.

AGH was one of the founding members of the American Brain Injury Consortium (ABIC), an organization of academic neurotrauma centers devoted to developing and carrying out neuroprotective trials in severe TBI. Since 1991 AGH has been involved in the following ABIC-sponsored randomized, controlled, multicenter Phase III clinical trials:

  • Tirilazad Head Injury Trial
  • PEG-SOD Head Injury Trial
  • Selfotel Head Injury Trial
  • Opioid Receptor Antagonist Enandoline Head Injury Trial
  • NMDA-antagonist CPP-ene in Severe Head Injury
  • CP101,256 Trial in Severe Head Injury
  • SNXIII Trial in Severe Head Injury
  • Dexanabinol in Severe Head Injury

Enrollment of patients in these trials has been consistently high- ranging from 6-18 patients per year- compared to other enrollment sites around the country and in some cases internationally. Most recently a trial was completed looking at the evolution of cerebral contusions.

Thru ABIC centralized quality control based on standardized patient care protocols has been a hallmark of providing reliable, high quality data. Dr. Wilberger has served on the Executive Committee of ABIC since its inception.

Unfortunately, the neurotrauma clinical trials to date have not shown statistically significant improvements in outcome after severe TBI, regardless of the neuroprotective compound studied. To determine the future direction of clinical trials in severe TBI, AGH participated in a 2002 NIH-sponsored round table discussion from which a number of important recommendations were forthcoming.

Trauma Registry - Allegheny General Hospital also supports a computerized trauma registry of all patients treated in the Trauma Unit. This database serves as a valuable resource for research and investigation of trauma-related topics.

The Center for Violence and Injury Control (CVIC) is a statewide, interdisciplinary program organized within the West Penn Allegheny Health System. CVIC’s mission is to conserve health in communities by reducing the frequency and consequences of violence and unintentional injuries. The Center is a service of the Emergency Medicine Research division.


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