Scientists Find Clue to Cell Damage After Stroke

ABC News

Scientists have found that an enzyme is responsible for the death of nerve cells after a stroke and say an experimental drug that dramatically reduced brain damage in mice may also offer hope for humans.

Previous attempts to design drugs that can protect the brain from damage after a stroke have had limited success.

Dutch and German researchers said on Tuesday that their work showed a potential new approach to treating stroke, which is the most common cardiovascular problem after heart disease and kills an estimated 5.7 million people worldwide each year.

In tests on mice, the scientists found that an experimental drug, known as VAS2870 and being developed by the German biotech firm Vasopharm, dramatically reduced brain damage and preserved brain functions, even when given hours after the stroke.

"The indications are very strong that the same mechanism may apply for human stroke," said Harald Schmidt from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who led the study with Christoph Kleinschnitz from Wurzburg University in Germany.

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