In the clinical trial, patients were randomized to receive either Tat-NR2B9c or a placebo. Those treated with Tat-NR2B9c showed a reduction in the amount of brain damage sustained as a result of the aneurysm repair procedure. Also, in patients who had ruptured brain aneurysm, which comprise a population of patients at very high risk of neurological damage, those treated with Tat-NR2B9c all had good neurological outcomes, whereas only 68% of those treated with placebo had good outcomes.
"The results of this clinical trial represent a major leap forward for stroke research," said Dr. Michael Hill of the Calgary Stroke Program at Foothills Medical Centre. "There have been over 1,000 attempts to develop such drugs, which have failed to make the leap between success in the lab and in humans."
"This clinical trial is, to our knowledge, the first time that a drug aimed at increasing the resistance of the brain to stroke, has been shown to reduce stroke damage in humans. No efforts should be spared to develop it further," said Dr. Michael Tymianski, inventor of NA-1 and one of the study's authors who oversaw the development of Tat-NR2B9c from its invention in his lab, through to clinical trials.
Currently, t-PA is the only widely approved acute stroke therapy. It works by unblocking the arteries to the brain, however, this treatment is only beneficial for a portion of stroke victims. It also has serious potential for side-effects, including bleeding in the brain.
"Through our lab research and clinical trial, we now have a better method of predicting whether a stroke drug may be effective in humans and we now have the evidence that there is a neuroprotectant that can prevent damage in the brain caused by reduced blood flow," said Tymiansk. "The benefits of this can be explored not only for stroke, but for other conditions such as vascular dementia."
"Safety and efficacy of NA-1 for neuroprotection in iatrogenic stroke after endovascular aneurysm repair: a randomized controlled trial," published in The Lancet Neurology and Science Translational Medicine
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