Washington: A new study has shown that an experimental drug called 3K3A-APC appears to reduce brain damage, eliminate brain hemorrhaging and improve motor skills in older stroke-afflicted mice and stroke-afflicted rats with comorbid conditions such as hypertension.
The research from scientists at University of Southern California provided provides additional evidence that 3K3A-APC may be used as a therapy for stroke in humans, either alone or in combination with the FDA-approved clot-busting drug therapy tPA (tissue plasminogen activator).
"Currently, tPA is the best treatment for stroke caused by a blocked artery, but it must be administered within three hours after stroke onset to be effective," study's lead investigator, Berislav V. Zlokovic, from the Keck School of Medicine of USC said.
Zlokovic said that because of this limited window, only a small fraction of those who suffer a stroke reach the hospital in time to be considered for tPA. The studies show that 3K3A-APC extends tPA's therapeutic window and counteracts tPA's tendency to induce bleeding in the brains of animals having a stroke.
3K3A-APC has been shown to have a protective effect on the lining of blood vessels in rodent brains, which appears to help prevent bleeding caused by tPA.
In collaboration with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and The Scripps Research Institute, Zlokovic and his team gave tPA- alone and in combination with 3K3A-APC- to mature female mice and male hypertensive rats four hours after stroke.
They also gave 3K3A-APC in regular intervals up to seven days after stroke.
The researchers found that, under those conditions, tPA therapy alone caused bleeding in the brain and did not reduce brain damage or improve motor ability when compared to the control. The combination of tPA and 3K3A-APC, however, reduced brain damage by more than half, eliminated tPA-induced bleeding and significantly improved motor ability.
The study is published in the journal Stroke.