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NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Samuel S. Panter, PhD

Research Chemist/Physiologist, Neurology Service, SFVAHCS
Assistant Adjunct Professor of Neurological Surgery, UCSF


Treating Brain Injury Intranasally

Dr. Panter and his colleagues were the first research group in the VA system to deliver drugs directly to the brain by an intranasal route, bypassing the blood-brain barrier in a non-invasive method. For these studies, they chose deferoxamine (DFO), which is FDA-approved as a chelator to treat chronic, transfusion-related iron overload. It is usually administered systemically but does not readily enter the brain; therefore, they decided to utilize intranasal delivery. They selected a model of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, which is performed on thousands of veterans annually; however, it is also a procedure that can result in an outcome of significant neurological dysfunction, including stroke and cognitive impairment. Dr. Panter and his colleagues found that brain damage from stroke was reduced 65 percent in animals treated with intranasal DFO 48 hours prior to stroke. These data suggest that, in the future, patients scheduled to undergo CABG surgery may be able to reduce adverse neurological outcome by using a nasal sprayer to self-administer DFO prior to surgery.  It has also been determined that DFO can be administered intranasally after stroke, reducing tissue damage by 50%.  Additionally, in response to the frequent occurrence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in veterans returning from current military conflicts, Dr. Panter's laboratory has developed and characterized a unique model of blast-induced TBI with long-term recovery in swine.  This model can be used in the future to test different treatment and rehabilitation alternatives.  Most recently, Dr. Panter's laboratory is participating in a project to develop a device to more efficiently deliver human embryonic stem cells to brain.  These studies are being performed in swine because the pig brain structures are very similar to those in the human brain.  The long-term goal of this project is inject stem cells to treat or reverse neurodegenerative disorders.

To see Dr. Panter on Pub Med, click here.