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USF researchers get $2.6 million NIH grant to investigate new post-stroke therapy
Date:8/11/2011

University of South Florida Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair faculty members have received a $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the potential for cells derived from human bone marrow to benefit post-stroke patients by repairing the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB prevents harmful substances in circulating blood from entering the brain while allowing passage of needed substances.

According to the researchers, current treatment for ischemic stroke is limited to one FDA-approved drug, the serine protease tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) that to be effective must be administered during a three-hour window following a stroke.

"Although there are almost 800,000 stroke cases yearly in the US, less than three percent of patients benefit from tPA treatment," said Dr. Svitlana Garbuzova-Davis, assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair and co-principal investigator on the grant. "Because of the drug's narrow three-hour therapeutic window, and its detrimental side effects that can exacerbate stroke injury and counteract the benefits provided by reperfusion of the occluded artery, new drugs are desperately needed."

According to Dr. Garbuzova-Davis, any treatment aimed at repairing stroke deficits should consider the pivotal role of BBB repair in order to maintain central nervous system (CNS) stability and enhance neuronal regeneration.

"Permanent BBB damage can lead to harmful serum protein leakage into ischemic brain tissue and may result in the formation of severe brain swelling in the hours and days following a stroke," she explained. "This damage could negatively influence CNS regenerative processes after a stroke."

Using animal models of stroke, the researchers will investigate how blood-brain barrier repair might mitigate the functional recovery in the stroke animals, and determine if BBB reconstitution can lead to positive therapeuti
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Contact: Randolph Fillmore
rfillmor@health.usf.edu
University of South Florida (USF Health)
Source:Eurekalert

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