Thursday, June 04, 2015

What's the next phase of stroke treatment?

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I was fortunate enough to be in the right place, right time in 1998 - just two years after approval of clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, also known as tPA or alteplase.

However, it's true that little has changed since then. Researchers have looked at different windows of time for the drug, which can quickly dissolve a clot to prevent further stroke damage, but new, safer and more effective drugs have not come to pass.

I have little right to complain about tPA, but I'm just one guy who benefited. It has its dangers, too. And while there are some good signs related to using devices to remove clots, much more research and work are needed to improve treatment and stroke outcomes.

You can read a recent article summarizing the need for the next phase in stroke treatment:
Thrombolysis relies on alteplase (Activase) in the same 3-hour window it was initially approved within the U.S. in 1996. While Europe marginally expanded the alteplase window to 4.5 hours, no new drugs have panned out yet.
"The slow progress in thrombolysis for acute stroke has been multifactorial," Marshall wrote. "A focus on extending the time window for alteplase beyond 4.5 hours has encumbered substantial resources in the field for many years, yet these efforts have been largely unsuccessful."

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