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Cancer Drug Gleevec Could Fight Stroke
Date:6/23/2008

ss, he added. "tPA loses its efficacy three hours after a stroke. Part of that loss may be an increase in major side effects, and the major side effect of tPA is bleeding," Lawrence explained. "You could conceivably block the receptor and give tPA beyond its current three-hour limit and still be effective at removing the blockage of a brain artery but reduce the complications."

Gleevec is not necessarily the perfect drug to achieve that effect, Lawrence said, because its activity on a number of other receptors could raise new concerns. "We are not currently testing any [other drug] in our laboratory, but any drug that blocks those receptors might possibly be even better than Gleevec," he said. "One could develop even more specific receptor blockers."

A first human trial, primarily to test the safety of the proposed treatment, will soon begin in Sweden, said Ulf Eriksson, professor of molecular biology at the Karolinska Institute, one of the leaders of the research effort. It will be done by physicians at the Karolinska Institute Hospital in Stockholm.

The trial is planned to include 60 people who will be treated in the hours after they suffer strokes. Some will be given Gleevec within three hours of the stroke in addition to standard tPA treatment. Others whose treatment started later for one reason or another will be given Gleevec in addition to tPA after the three-hour period desired for such treatment. Their results will be compared to similar stroke patients given standard treatment.

Results of that study should be available "within one year," Eriksson said. Plans for future human trials would depend on those results, he said.

More information

There's more on tPA and other stroke therapies at the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Daniel Lawrence, Ph.D., profess
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