New therapy to reduce brain damage from stroke | Connect Asia

New therapy to reduce brain damage from stroke

New therapy to reduce brain damage from stroke

Updated 18 January 2012, 17:30 AEDT

A team of scientists from Melbourne, Germany, and The Netherlands has discovered a new form of therapy that may protect the brain by identifyng the enzyme that releases toxic substances into the brain after a stroke.

By removing or inhibiting that enzyme in mice, the scientists found that stroke induced brain damage in the animals was dramatically reduced.

Presenter: Kellie Lazzaro

Dr Christoph Kleinschnitz, University of Wuerzburg's Department of Neurology in Germany; Geoffrey Donnan, Florey Neuroscience Institutes in Melbourne

KELLIE LAZZARO: Most strokes are caused by a blockage of a blood vessel to the brain. And when that occurs, toxic elements including hydrogen peroxide, or bleach, are released causing neurological damage and death.

Now scientists have discovered what's responsible for releasing those toxins.

CHRISTOPH KLEINSCHNITZ: By targeting this main source of oxidated stress, by targeting this special enzyme we could show in animal experiments that mice are profoundly protected from ischemic stroke when we block and when we inhibit this enzyme.

KELLIE LAZZARO: Dr Christoph Kleinschnitz from the University of Wuerzburg's Department of Neurology in Germany led the research.

CHRISTOPH KLEINSCHNITZ: On one hand we took brains from stroked mice and checked these brains for levels of 'NOX Four' and the amount of NOX Four enzyme was dramatically increased in the brains of stroked mice compared to healthy mice.

But what we also did we took brain samples from human stroke patients which had undergone autopsy and what we also found is that NOX Four is also dramatically increased in human stroke. So that is why we believe there is quite a realistic chance to translate our experimental findings to the human situation.

KELLIE LAZZARO: Dr Kleinschnitz says that when mice were given a drug to inhibit the NOX Four enzyme even hours after a stroke, brain damage was dramatically reduced.

He says the next step will be to conduct clinical trials on humans.

CHRISTOPH KLEINSCHNITZ: Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide and the incidence is even going to rise because people get older and there is a huge medical need because currently there's only one approved therapy for the treatment of ischemic stroke and this kind of therapy can only be applied in approximately 10 per cent of all stroke patients.

KELLIE LAZZARO: The director of Melbourne's Florey Neuroscience Institutes, Geoffrey Donnan, says it's a significant development.

GEOFFREY DONNAN: Put it this way I think it shows much more promise than any other similar approach we've had in this so called neuro protection category of drugs and if it does come to fruition I think it could benefit many people with stroke both here in Australia and around the globe.

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