(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers at the University of Oslo have proposed a new stroke therapy that involves infusion of a blood protein. It is supposed to help protect the brain from damage.
Stroke is dangerous not only by the probability of death, but also by the disability that it can bring. Fortunately, researchers now have a tool to help with this.
“Those who survive [after a stroke] often suffer severe brain damage,” explains Sandeep Kanse, one of the authors of the new study. “In addition to the cost of human suffering, caring for these patients is very costly to healthcare systems.
Therefore, it is important that we find therapies that can be used to restore the brain immediately after a stroke. With every lost minute, the brain of such people is damaged more and more.
Blood protein against stroke
In the study, the scientists focused on a circulating protein in the blood called factor VII-activating protease (FSAP).
This protein has long been associated with stroke, and studies show that its levels in the bloodstream increase after a stroke. And people with a gene mutation that lowers FSAP levels are often at higher risk for stroke.
The researchers’ hypothesis was that FSAP protects the brain to some extent from the harmful effects of stroke, and perhaps this could be used to create a therapy.
The first step was to study what happens to the brains of mice that have completely suppressed FSAP production during a stroke.
It turned out that mice that had the FSAP gene removed had more brain damage than normal animals. This shows that the FSAP gene is important for brain protection.
The next step in the study demonstrated that administration of FSAP to mice after stroke induction significantly improved their recovery and survival. The scientists say they still have a number of preclinical trials to go before the therapy is approved for use in humans.
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