One local researcher invents a medication that will provide better help.

Still in its early development, a promising new treatment for strokes is proving to be potentially superior to the current standard of care.

“We have developed a drug compound that, in our preclinical trials, breaks open a blood clot better than tPA, which is the clinical standard [drug] for breaking open blood clots, especially in the brain,” says Dr. Shahid Nimjee, an endovascular neurosurgeon at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Comprehensive Stroke Center.

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The significant difference, says the preclinical trial’s lead researcher, lies in the new drug’s reversibility. Reversibility represents a groundbreaking improvement over the tPA therapy because tPA can cause a patient to bleed into the brain. Since there is no reversal agent for tPA, there is no way to stop that bleeding. At this time, 45 percent of patients who bleed into their brains as a result of tPA die.

Nimjee expects that the new drug will be available for treatment in the next decade, after his team completes FDA approval testing. Ultimately, he says, the drug could provide a safer, more robust option to treat acute stroke in the brain—but also break up blood clots anywhere else in the body, too.

“The entire concept of developing reversal agents for drugs at the front end has never been done before,” Nimjee says. “It’s not necessarily the fastest way to develop drugs, but it’s the safest and most efficacious way.”

Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics indicate that nearly 800,000 people in the US suffer a stroke annually, and 610,000 of those are first or new strokes.

Reprinted from Columbus Monthly Health 2020.