Research Says New Drug Can Preserve Brain Cells For A Time After Stroke

In past 50 years, more than 1000 drugs have been tested to preserve brain cells for a time after stroke. Now a ray of hope is shining. An experimental neuroprotective drug, combined with a surgical procedure can remove the clot and effectively cure acute ischemic stroke patients.

Alberta Health Services, along with a team at the Cumming School of Medicine’s (CSM) Hotchkiss Brain Institute investigated the use of the neuroprotective drug nerinetide, developed by NoNO Inc, in two scenarios in the same trial. The trials that were conducted were multi-centre, double-blinded, and randomized in nature. In one scenario, nerinetide was given to patients, in addition to the clot-busting drug alteplase. In the second scenario, patients who allergic to alteplase received only nerinetide. Both groups of patients had been through concurrent endovascular treatment (EVT) to remove the clot.

Dr. Michael Hill, MD, a neurologist at Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) and professor in the departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Radiology at the CSM said:

“Compared to placebo, almost 20 per cent more patients who received nerinetide along with endovascular treatment, but did not receive alteplase, recovered from a devastating stroke – a difference between paralysis and walking out of the hospital. In the patients who received both drugs, the alteplase negated the benefits of the nerinetide.”

According to Dr. Hill, this study provided evidence of a biological pathway that protected brain cells from dying when they were deprived of blood flow. Nerinetide targeted the final stage of the brain cell’s life by stopping the production of nitric oxide within the cell.

“We really believe this is a new scientific observation. There is evidence nerinetide promotes brain cell survival, offering neuroprotection until we can extract the clot. It opens the door to a new way of treating stroke.”