Canadian doctors have high hopes for new discoveries
50 years of research and the testing of over 1,000 drugs have, at last, yielded hope for the preservation of brain cells for a time after stroke. Treating acute ischemic stroke patients with an experimental neuroprotective drug, combined with a surgical procedure to remove the clot improves outcomes as shown by clinical trial results published recently in The Lancet.
The multi-centre, double-blinded, randomized trial, led by a team at the Cumming School of Medicine’s (CSM) Hotchkiss Brain Institute and Alberta Health Services, investigates the use of the neuroprotective drug nerinetide, developed by NoNO Inc, in two scenarios in the same trial. In one scenario, nerinetide is given to patients in addition to the clot-busting drug alteplase. In the second scenario, patients who were not suitable for alteplase received only nerinetide. Both groups of patients had concurrent endovascular treatment (EVT) to remove the clot.
“Compared to placebo, almost 20 per cent more patients who received nerinetide along with endovascular treatment, but did not receive alteplase, recovered from a devastating stroke – a difference between paralysis and walking out of the hospital,” says Dr. Michael Hill, MD, a neurologist at Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) and professor in the departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Radiology at the CSM. “In the patients who received both drugs, the alteplase negated the benefits of the nerinetide.”
Hill says the study provides evidence of a biological pathway that protects brain cells from dying when they are deprived of blood flow. Nerinetide targets the final stage of the brain cell’s life by stopping the production of nitric oxide within the cell.
“We really believe this is a new scientific observation,” says Hill. “There is evidence nerinetide promotes brain cell survival, offering neuroprotection until we can extract the clot. It opens the door to a new way of treating stroke.”
Images of patients’ brains from the study show the expected size of the damage from the stroke is sizeably reduced when nerinetide is administered and EVT is performed among patients not concurrently receiving alteplase.
“After so many studies investigating neuroprotective drugs failed, we are extremely excited by these results,” says Dr. Mayank Goyal, MD, PhD, a neuroradiologist at the FMC, and clinical professor in the Department of Radiology at the CSM. “While nerinetide is not approved for use yet, it shows the potential of a new tool to promote recovery from stroke.”
SOURCE: World Pharma News