The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development, will support two new multi-institutional consortia focused on translational and clinical research on post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic effects of mild traumatic brain injury.
These collaborative five-year efforts are the Consortium to Alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD, and the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium, or CENC. Both consortia are part of the national research action plan for improving access to mental health services for veterans, service members, and military families.
The Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, or CAP, and CENC will be composed of multiple organizations, including academia, VA, and military research and treatment facilities. Efforts will leverage existing resources and knowledge gained through Department of Defense and VA infrastructure and research investments, as well as public and private academia and industry to advance highly translational PTSD and traumatic brain injury, or TBI, research.
The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, or CDMRP, will work collaboratively with the VA to provide administrative and technical research management with strategic guidance from each consortium’s government steering committee.
“The CDMRP is well positioned to support CAP and CENC, having assisted with military consortia research in multi-institutional settings in psychological health and traumatic brain injury since 2008,” said Col. Jeff Leggit, director of CDMRP. “The teams are dedicated to the success of the consortia research projects to bring innovative, evidenced-based practice forward to improve the care of service members.”
Dr. Alan Peterson, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Division of Behavioral Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry chief, will serve as the principal investigator, and director of the CAP award.
Consortium co-director Dr. Terence Keane of the VA Boston Healthcare System, the National Center for PTSD, and Boston University, will lead the collaboration effort with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Keane will help design studies that address the needs of veterans.
This effort will be focused on developing the most effective diagnostic, prognostic, novel treatment, and rehabilitative strategies to treat acute PTSD and prevent chronic PTSD. A significant focus of the CAP will be a research effort to identify and confirm clinically relevant biomarkers for PTSD and co-occurring disorders.
Dr. David Cifu, Virginia Commonwealth University Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department chairman, will serve as the principal investigator and director of the CENC award. Cifu is also the National Director for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for the VA.
Consortium co-investigator Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, will provide access to critical military populations for studies of mTBI and the many diseases associated with combat duty.
Veterans will be recruited to the studies through a number of VA medical centers nationwide. This collaborative effort focuses on examining the factors that influence the chronic effects of mild TBI and common co-morbidities in order to develop improved diagnostic and treatment options. One area of critical understanding is to establish the relationship between mTBI and neurodegenerative disease.