Around 400,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year and that number is set to rise to more than one million in 2050. About 25 % of those who suffer a stroke die within one month. At the present time the only stroke treatments available are clot-dissolving drugs such as tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) and streptokinase. Now, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in California have discovered a potentially new treatment for stroke.
A stroke cuts off the blood and oxygen flow to a region of brain tissue-an event known as ischemia. This situation causes the over production of vascular endothelia growth factor (VEGF), which in turn increases the permeability of blood vessels in the brain leading to brain swelling and neuronal damage.
A family of tyrosine kinase molecules collectively called Src, is known to link VEGF and increased vascular permeability. Based on this knowledge, David Cheresh and colleagues developed a strain of mice lacking Src and found that these mice were resistant to the increased vascular permeability and brain-swelling effects of VEGF (Nature Medicine Vol. 7, No. 2, 01 Feb 2001). Moreover, they discovered that a drug known to block Src activity, PP1, was able to protect normal mice from brain damage due to stroke if given within the first 6 hours of the event.
The authors conclude that "…suppression of Src activity within several hours following stroke might reduce ischemia-induced brain injury and prevent long-term neurological damage…"
Dr. David A. Cheresh
Departments of Immunology and Vascular Biology
The Scripps Research Institute
La Jolla, California
Tel: +1 858 784 8281
Fax: +1 858 784 8926
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza