Cutting edge drug to protect brain from stroke

March 1st, 2012 - 5:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 1 (IANS) In a lab setting experiment, Scientists have perfected a cutting-edge drug to protect the brain against the damaging effects of a stroke, thus accelerating the process to reduce thousands of stroke-related deaths.

Over 1,000 attempts to develop such drugs worldwide have failed to be translated to a stage where they can be used in humans, leaving a major unmet need for stroke treatment.

Stroke deprives brain regions of blood and oxygen, which causes a complex sequence of chemical reactions in the brain, leading to neurological (nerve or brain cell) impairment, paralysis or death.

Developed by the Toronto Western Research Institute (TWRI), the drug is the first to achieve a neuroprotective effect in the complex brain of primates, in settings that simulate those of human strokes, the journal Nature reports.

Their study shows how the drug, called a “PSD95 inhibitor” prevents brain cell death and preserves brain function when administered after a stroke, according to a TWRI statement.

“We are closer to having a treatment for stroke than we have ever been before. These findings are extremely exciting and our next step is to confirm these results in a clinical trial,” said a jubilant Michael Tymianski, TWRI senior scientist who led the study.

“Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide and we believe that we now have a way to dramatically reduce its damaging effects,” added Tymianski.

The study used cynomolgus macaques, which bear genetic, anatomic and behavioural similarities to humans, as an ideal model to determine if this therapy would be beneficial in patients.

Animals that were treated with the PSD95 inhibitor after a stroke had greatly reduced brain damage and this translated to a preservation of neurological function.

These improvements were observed in several scenarios that simulated human strokes. Specifically, when the treatment was given either early, or even at three hours, after the stroke onset, the animals exhibited remarkable recoveries.

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