Abbott's (ABT) TRACK-TBI Study Reveals Encouraging Results

Abbott Laboratories ABT announced favorable results from its new study, the Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury (TRACK-TBI). The study highlighted that elevated levels of protein measured with the company's blood test (currently under development) can aid the diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), even when a CT scan cannot detect it. Findings from the TRACK-TBI study indicate that this new assay could help identify patients, who might otherwise have gone undiagnosed.

This study outcome should be a crucial step forward for the company in its endeavor to boost TBI diagnosis and treatment.

More About the Study

TRACK-TBI, a prospective, multi-center observational study, is one of the largest and most unique TBI diagnosis efforts. Researchers from the TRACK-TBI study examined 450 patients, who were admitted to the emergency department of 18 Level 1 trauma centers in the United States, with a suspected TBI. They were made to undergo a negative CT scan to determine if the brain-specific glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) could be a biomarker or indication that helps physicians diagnose TBIs. The study used Abbott's i-STAT Alinity device — a handheld, portable blood analyzer that delivers test results in minutes — and its current blood test procedure to measure a patient's GFAP protein level. 


Among these 450 participants with a negative CT scan, researchers assessed GFAP levels in their blood and then monitored their MRI scans taken up to two weeks later to verify the TBI. The study highlighted that 64% of the 90 people with the highest levels of GFAP were confirmed to have a TBI by the MRI scan. On the contrary, 8% of the 90 people with the lowest levels of GFAP were confirmed to have a TBI. The research showed that GFAP could be used to identify people, who should be screened further or referred for an MRI to confirm their TBI.

The study also looked at three additional brain biomarkers to find out any correlation between elevated levels of those proteins and brain injury.

Market Prospects

Per Market Research Future, the global traumatic brain injuries treatment market is anticipated to expand steadily at a CAGR of 5.1% during the forecast period of 2018-2023. Hence, the findings of the study have been published at an ideal time.

Recent Developments

Lately, Abbott has been investing in a few crucial developments, which are expected to strengthen its portfolio of neuromodulation therapies.

In May, the company announced its partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) initiative to accelerate innovation in neuroscience research.  

Price Performance

Over the past year, the company’s share price has gained 24.4% against the industry’s 0.4% decline.

Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks

Abbott currently carries a Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy).

A few other similar-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are Medtronic MDT, Baxter BAX and Amedisys AMED. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Medtronic’s long-term earnings growth rate is expected to be 7.13%.

Baxter’s long-term earnings growth rate is projected at 12.8%.

Amedisys’ long-term earnings growth rate is expected to be 16.26%.

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