An experimental drug called 3K3A-APC appears to reduce brain damage, eliminate brain hemorrhaging and improve motor skills in older stroke-afflicted mice and stroke-afflicted rats with comorbid conditions such as hypertension, according to a new study from Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC).
The study, which appears online today in the journal Stroke, provides additional evidence that 3K3A-APC may be used as a therapy for stroke in humans, either alone or in combination with the FDA-approved clot-busting drug therapy tPA (tissue plasminogen activator). Clinical trials to test the drug's efficacy in people experiencing acute ischemic stroke are expected to begin recruiting patients in the U.S. in 2014.
"Currently, tPA is the best treatment for stroke caused by a blocked artery, but it must be administered within three hours after stroke onset to be effective," said Berislav V. Zlokovic, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute (ZNI) at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the study's lead investigator. "Because of this limited window, only a small fraction of those who suffer a stroke reach the hospital in time to be considered for tPA. Our studies show that 3K3A-APC extends tPA's therapeutic window and counteracts tPA's tendency to induce bleeding in the brains of animals having a stroke."
Zlokovic is the scientific founder of ZZ Biotech, a Houston-based biotechnology company he co-founded with USC benefactor Selim Zilkha to develop biological treatments for stroke and other neurological ailments. ZZ Biotech's 3K3A-APC is a genetically engineered variant of the naturally occurring activated protein C (APC), which plays a role in the regulation of blood clotting and inflammation. 3K3A-APC has been shown to have a protective effect on the lining of blood vessels in rodent brains, which appears to help prevent bleeding caused by tPA.
In collaboration with Cedars-Sinai Medical
|Contact: Alison Trinidad|
University of Southern California - Health Sciences