22 May 2017

New stroke treatment could reduce brain damage by 40 percent

Recent pre-clinical research at the Perron Institute and Notre Dame University into the treatment of stroke indicates that a simple injection – potentially administrable on-the-spot by paramedics – could reduce brain damage by up to 40 per cent.

The peptide-based drug could provide a new frontier in the treatment of stroke and its devastating consequences for more than 60,000 Australians each year, according to studies by Dr Diego Milani, Perron Institute and Notre Dame University PhD researcher.

Currently, life-saving stroke treatment can only be administered in tertiary hospitals, which often leads to long delays before patients are able to receive the treatment, in some cases, so long that treatment is no longer feasible.

“My research findings highlight the possibility that a simple injection of a new peptide, composed of the amino acid arginine, can significantly reduce brain damage caused by stroke,” said Dr Milani.

“The peptide can be potentially administered by paramedics or in remote areas far from medical facilities so that stroke sufferers are able to receive immediate care.

“I hope to one day see the treatment carried in every ambulance in the country as currently almost 90 per cent of stroke sufferers do not receive any treatment.”

Laboratory studies have so far shown no visible side effects to the treatment. Clinical trials, to be conducted in the next few years, will assess the effectiveness of the peptide in treating brain injury or chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The only available treatment for stroke currently is a drug called tPA, which is administered alone or in combination with the removal of the blot clot causing the stroke (thrombectomy). For the latter, a small stent is inserted into a blood vessel to remove the clots and restore the flow of blood again, a procedure that can only be carried out in hospital facilities

These studies have been conducted at the Perron Institute and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital by the Stroke Research team led by Associate Professor Bruno Meloni and Clinical Professor Neville Knuckey.

Perron Institute | Stroke Research

Dr Diego Milani, PhD researcher

Bruno Meloni and Neville Knuckey lead Stroke Research