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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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Stephen Massa, MD, PhD

Staff Physician, Neurology Service, SFVAHCS
Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology, UCSF

Email: stephen.massa@ucsf.edu

Potential New Treatments for Brain and Spinal Cord Injury & Neurodegenerative Diseases and Disorders

Dr. Massa's work has a direct bearing on the potential development of new strategies for rehabilitation following neurological injury or disease. Neurotrophins - molecules that promote the growth and survival of nerve cells - have shown great promise in the laboratory as treatments for a variety of nervous system disorders, including traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. However, they have a number of properties that render them unfavorable for drug development. Dr. Massa and his collaborators have identified a number of new drug-like compounds that modulate receptors of specific neurotrophins in nerve and other brain cells. These molecules could potentially be administered in place of neurotrophins to treat traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, as well as many other neurologic disorders, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and ALS. Ongoing projects are investigating the potential clinical uses of these molecules. Dr. Massa's group is also studying potential treatments for Huntington's Disease (HD), focusing on the identification and investigation of compounds that regulate production of the toxic mutant protein that causes HD and related diseases.

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