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Recruitment of Endogenous Neural Stem Cells to Promote Brain Repair Following Acquired Brain Injury in Children

Principal Investigator:
  • Kamila Szulc, The Hospital For Sick Children
  • Hospital for Sick Children

Project Overview

In Canada, over 140,000 children and teenagers suffer a brain injury each year due to trauma, stroke, cerebral palsy, and brain cancer and currently, there are no effective medical therapies to aid brain recovery, reduce disability and mitigate aberrant brain development following the injury. New interventions must be developed to help these children. Exciting work in developmental neuroscience and regenerative medicine indicates that interventions targeting brain repair may be possible in humans- and such therapies hold significant hope for reducing the suffering caused by brain injury. In the proposed postdoctoral research program Kamila Szulc will investigate the potential benefits of both physical exercise and a pharmacological agent for brain repair. Specifically, she will examine metformin, a clinically approved medication that has recently been shown by Dr. Freda Miller, with whom Dr. Mabbott and Dr. Szulc collaborate, to activate pathways involved in birth and differentiation of NPCs. Using advanced MRI and image analysis approaches together with a battery of cognitive and behavioural tests she will investigate whether physical exercise or metformin, can promote anatomical and cognitive recovery in children with brain tumours after cranial radiation treatment.