World's first successful clinical trial to protect the brain from damage caused by stroke

A team of Canadian scientists and clinicians, led by Dr. Michael Hill of the Calgary Stroke Program at Foothills Medical Centre and University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), have demonstrated that a neuroprotectant drug, developed by Dr. Michael Tymianski at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, located at the Toronto Western Hospital, protects the human brain against the damaging effects of stroke.

The study, "Safety and efficacy of NA-1 for neuroprotection in iatrogenic stroke after endovascular aneurysm repair: a ," published online today in The , was conducted concurrently with a laboratory study published in Science Translational Medicine, that predicted the benefits of the stroke drug.

This landmark clinical trial was a randomized, double blinded, multi-centre trial that was conducted in Canada and the USA. The study evaluated the effectiveness of NA-1[Tat-NR2B9c] when it was administered after the onset of small strokes that are incurred by patients who undergo neurointerventional procedures to repair brain aneurysms. This type of small occurs in over 90% of aneurysm patients after such a procedure, but usually does not cause overt .

In the clinical trial, patients were randomized to receive either Tat-NR2B9c or placebo. Those treated with Tat-NR2B9c showed a reduction in the amount of brain damage sustained as a result of the aneurysm repair procedure. Also, in patients who had ruptured , which comprise a population of patients at very high risk of neurological damage, those treated with Tat-NR2B9c all had good neurological outcomes, whereas only 68% of those treated with placebo had good outcomes.

"The results of this clinical trial represent a major leap forward for stroke research," said Dr. Hill. "There have been over 1,000 attempts to develop such drugs, which have failed to make the leap between success in the lab and in humans."

"This clinical trial is, to our knowledge, the first time that a drug aimed at increasing the resistance of the brain to stroke, has been shown to reduce stroke damage in humans. No efforts should be spared to develop it further," said Dr. Michael Tymianski, who oversaw the development of Tat-NR2B9c from its invention in his lab, through to .

Currently, t-PA is the only widely approved acute stroke therapy. It works by unblocking the arteries to the brain, however, this treatment is only beneficial for a portion of stroke victims. It also has serious potential for side-effects, including bleeding in the brain.

"Through our lab research and clinical trial, we now have a better method of predicting whether a may be effective in humans and we now have the evidence that there is a neuroprotectant that can prevent damage in the brain caused by reduced blood flow," said Dr. Tymianski, inventor of NA-1 and one of the study's authors. "The benefits of this can be explored not only for stroke, but for other conditions such as vascular dementia."

Related Stories

New stroke treatments becoming a reality

date Jul 26, 2012

Scientists led by the President of The University of Manchester have demonstrated a drug which can dramatically limit the amount of brain damage in stroke patients.

Recommended for you

Team makes breakthrough in understanding Canavan disease

date 5 hours ago

UC Davis investigators have settled a long-standing controversy surrounding the molecular basis of an inherited disorder that historically affected Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe but now also arises in other populations ...

Finding the body clock's molecular reset button

date 9 hours ago

An international team of scientists has discovered what amounts to a molecular reset button for our internal body clock. Their findings reveal a potential target to treat a range of disorders, from sleep ...

A 'GPS' to navigate the brain's neuronal networks

date 9 hours ago

In new research published today by Nature Methods, scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Harvard University have announced a "Neuronal Positioning System" (NPS) that maps the circuitry of the ...

Neurons constantly rewrite their DNA

date 9 hours ago

Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered that neurons are risk takers: They use minor "DNA surgeries" to toggle their activity levels all day, every day. Since these activity levels are important in learning, ...

Hate to diet? It's how we are wired

date 9 hours ago

If you're finding it difficult to stick to a weight-loss diet, scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus say you can likely blame hunger-sensitive cells in your brain known ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Tom_Hennessy
Oct 09, 2012
"Future research on prevention and treatment of ischemic stroke and other thrombosis associated diseases should include testing of iron- chelating and hydroxyl radical-scavenging agents.".

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.