Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New stroke treatments becoming a reality

Date:
July 26, 2012
Source:
University of Manchester
Summary:
Scientists have demonstrated a drug which can dramatically limit the amount of brain damage in stroke patients.

Top: effect of placebo. Bottom: effect of IL-1Ra on brain injury.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Manchester

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.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, Professor Stuart Allan and their team have spent the last 20 years investigating how to reduce damage to the brain following a stroke.

They have been testing the effectiveness of the drug Anakinra (IL-1Ra), which is already used for rheumatoid arthritis in experimental studies of stroke.

This new study builds on previous research, although the big difference is that rats with stroke risk factors such as obesity, insulin resistance and atherosclerosis were used alongside healthy rats and older ones. It means the findings have a far greater chance of being replicated in human stroke patients.

Researchers induced a stroke in the rats and the drug IL-1Ra, or a placebo for comparison, was injected under the skin. The researchers did not know which animals had been given which drug. This is a similar process to what happens in clinical trials of medicines.

The results were startling. MRI scans revealed that the rats that were given IL-1Ra up to three hours after the stroke had only about half the brain damage of the placebo group.

Professor Rothwell said: "This is the first time that we are aware of a potential new treatment for stroke being tested in animals with the same sort of diseases and risk factors that most patients have. The results are very promising and we hope to undertake further clinical studies in stroke patients soon."

IL-1Ra works by blocking the naturally occurring protein interleukin 1. Researchers at The University of Manchester have identified that it is a key cause of brain injury following a stroke.

Interleukin 1 encourages inflammation in the area of the brain affected by stroke. This sends out signals to attract white blood cells and to switch on microglia cells in the brain. Because the barrier surrounding the brain has been weakened by the stroke the white blood cells find it easier to enter the brain. But instead of helping the inflamed area they actually kill nerve cells and worsen the injury. The increasing presence of these cells also explains why the damage in the brain gets worse over time following a stroke.

IL-1Ra also reduces the amount of damage to the blood-brain barrier following a stroke so the harmful cells can't enter the brain. In the recent experiments IL-1Ra reduced the damage to the blood-brain barrier by 55% in healthy rats and 45% in rats with underlying health conditions. In all types of rats the drug reduced the amount of activated microglia cells by 40% compared to the placebo group.

The only drug treatment currently available for stroke patients is Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA). However, this can only be administered to patients who suffer from a blood clot (ischaemic stroke) rather than bleeding. A brain scan is required to assess which type of stroke a patient has suffered which is why it is essential to get them to hospital as quickly as possible. tPA also has to be administered within a few hours of a stroke to be effective.

Professor Stuart Allan at The University of Manchester hopes that IL-1Ra could be used for both forms of stroke, meaning it could be administered immediately.

He said: "This drug has real potential to save lives and stop hundreds of thousands of people being seriously disabled by stroke. This really could be the treatment for stroke that we've been looking for over the past two decades."

A phase 2 trial with a small number of patients has yielded encouraging results. It's hoped a much larger clinical trial will demonstrate the effectiveness of IL-1Ra in reducing brain damage in stroke patients and that eventually it will become the standard treatment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Manchester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jesus M Pradillo, Adam Denes, Andrew D Greenhalgh, Herve Boutin, Caroline Drake, Barry W McColl, Eleanor Barton, Spencer D Proctor, James C Russell, Nancy J Rothwell, Stuart M Allan. Delayed administration of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist reduces ischemic brain damage and inflammation in comorbid rats. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/jcbfm.2012.101

Cite This Page:

University of Manchester. "New stroke treatments becoming a reality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726113023.htm>.
University of Manchester. (2012, July 26). New stroke treatments becoming a reality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726113023.htm
University of Manchester. "New stroke treatments becoming a reality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726113023.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins