Stroke blood test that could increase use of most effective treatment five-fold

September 20, 2012

Researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), in collaboration with UK company Proteome Sciences plc (PS) describe a simple blood test that could substantially increase the number of patients eligible for highly effective ischaemic stroke therapy in a paper "Blood Glutathione S-Transferase-pi (GSTP) as a Time Indicator of Stroke Onset", published last week in the journal PLoS ONE.

Ischaemic (which accounts for around 85% of strokes) can only be treated effectively with the 'clot busting' drug, rt-PA, if administered within a of up to 4.5 hours after symptoms start in the UK (up to 3 hours in the US). Approximately 35% of stroke victims are currently ineligible for treatment with rt-PA as they do not know the time of onset because the stroke occurs during sleep or the onset symptoms may not have been obvious. This blood test enables doctors to determine the time window in which a stroke has occurred and could give many of these individuals access to this crucial treatment.

The University of Geneva study reports the outcome of a long-running trial of 29 that Proteome Sciences and its partners have previously identified as early markers of associated with stroke. In particular, the authors sought to identify readily available that help establish the time of onset of the stroke as an aid to select appropriate thrombolytic treatment. This will be particularly useful in cases where patients do not know when the stroke occurred. One protein, GSTP, showed an almost instantaneous increase in the blood of , peaking at 3 hours after onset and returning to normal levels within approximately 6 hours.

Extrapolating the results of this study retrospectively across 555 patients who were admitted to the Geneva Hospital in 2006/7 with suspected stroke, but who did not know when their started, indicates that testing for GSTP on all suspected stroke victims at admission, or preferably during initial assessment during transport to the hospital, could result in as many as five times more people being eligible for the highly effective rt-PA treatment for ischaemic stroke.

Leader of the study, Prof. Jean-Charles Sanchez, said: "This is a major step towards improving the management of ischaemic stroke patients using the drugs that we already have available. A simple blood test that matches the therapeutic window of rt-PA is a major advance that we encourage clinicians, pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies to unite to rapidly bring this into routine practice to improve patient outcomes."

Dr Peter Coleman, Deputy Director of Research at The Stroke Association said: "When a stroke strikes time lost is brain lost, meaning that getting to hospital and receiving treatment quickly is absolutely essential. At the moment, suspected stroke patients should receive a brain scan as soon as possible to confirm which type of stroke they have had and determine the best treatment for them.

"A test such as this which could be used to quickly diagnose a stroke, possibly before a patient arrives at hospital, could speed up the treatment process and potentially improve outcomes. Stroke Association welcomes new technologies that can speed up diagnosis or improve diagnostic accuracy for people with a suspected stroke."

Dr. Ian Pike, Chief Operating Officer of Proteome Sciences, noted: "With a potential five-fold increase in the number of patients having access to the most effective form of ischaemic stroke treatment, this simple will most importantly make the recovery time shorter and reduce the level of resulting disability for substantial numbers of previously ineligible for drug therapy, whilst significantly reducing the cost of long term treatment and care.

"Following our license with Randox to develop a stroke test earlier this year, we expect to complete additional licenses with both diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies to ensure the technology is developed as quickly as possible to be used as a diagnostic tool for the use of rt-PA as a treatment."

Explore further: World's biggest stroke clot-buster trial reveals patient benefits

More information: dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0043830

Related Stories

World's biggest stroke clot-buster trial reveals patient benefits

May 24, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Patients given a clot-busting drug within six hours of a stroke are more likely to make a better recovery than those who do not receive the treatment, new research has found.

Clot-busting drugs appear safe for treating 'wake-up' stroke patients

February 1, 2012
Clot-busting drugs may be safe for patients who wake up experiencing stroke symptoms, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2012.

The Medical Minute: Solitaire for stroke -- It's not a game

May 22, 2012
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in North America -- down from third. Despite this "improvement," stroke remains the leading cause of adult disability. Ischemic strokes, caused by blood vessel blockages, are by ...

Recommended for you

Laser device placed on the heart identifies insufficient oxygenation better than other measures

September 20, 2017
A new device can assess in real time whether the body's tissues are receiving enough oxygen and, placed on the heart, can predict cardiac arrest in critically ill heart patients, report researchers at Boston Children's Hospital ...

Metabolism switch signals end for healing hearts

September 19, 2017
Researchers have identified the process that shuts down the human heart's ability to heal itself, and are now searching for a drug to reverse it.

Beta blockers not needed after heart attack if other medications taken

September 18, 2017
A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill finds beta blockers are not needed after a heart attack if heart-attack survivors are taking ACE inhibitors and statins. The study is the first to challenge ...

Which single behavior best prevents high blood pressure?

September 15, 2017
(HealthDay)—You probably already know that certain healthy lifestyle behaviors can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, but is any one behavior more important than the others?

RESPECT trial shows closing a small hole in heart may protect against recurrent stroke

September 13, 2017
A device used to close a small hole in the heart may benefit certain stroke patients by providing an extra layer of protection for those facing years of ongoing stroke risk, according to the results of a large clinical trial ...

Study shows so-called 'healthy obesity' is harmful to cardiovascular health

September 11, 2017
Clinicians are being warned not to ignore the increased cardiovascular health risks of those who are classed as either 'healthy obese' or deemed to be 'normal weight' but have metabolic abnormalities such as diabetes.

0 comments

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.