New Stroke Drug DP-b99 Reaches Phase III Testing

A stroke drug called DP-b99 by the company D-Pharm Ltd has reached phase III testing. Phase III testing is an important stage for a drug after it has initially been proven safe, it will undergo a randomized controlled multicenter trials on a large patient base (300-3000+). The real goal of phase III is an assessment of how effective the drug is compared to current protocols.

DP-b99 has ongoing phase III trials and that the protocol for testing will be published online in the International Journal of Stroke and in the August 2011 print edition. The aims of the study are to assess safety and the ability of the drug to improve outcome in moderately severe acute ischemic stroke patients.

About DP-b99

DP-b99 is what is called a broad-spectrum neuroprotective drug that deals with a wide range of brain damaging processes that happen in stroke patients. In earlier Phase I and II studies that were preclinical and clinical DP-b99 showed efficacy and safety. In a Phase II trial involving 150 ischemic stroke patients, DP-b99 increased by double the amount the percentage of recovered patients. DP-b99 must be administered within a nine hour therapeutic window.

At this stage it certainly looks very promising for DP-b99. Unfortunately it seems that it only has a small therapeutic window or opportunity to be administered.

More information can be found here at new stroke drug DP-b99.

Scientist One Step Closer to Reversing Stroke Damage

I want to share with you some cutting edge research on stroke treatment that is in process. What is great is that this is an all natural treatment.

Each year, 750,000 Americans suffer a stroke and more than 150,000 die.

The sooner you get therapy, the better chance you have got to survive. Now, researchers may have found a new way to stop, and even reverse, injury from a stroke.

LSU scientists have been looking for a approach to stop the damage.

A group led by LSU Neuroscientist Dr. Nicolas Bazan discovered that one injection of DHA, that is a very important element of fish oil, can protect the brain for approximately five hours following a stroke as well as prevent the damage.

DHA is looking exciting for scientists because it does a double combination: protection of cells and potentially reversing damage of cells that are in the process of being affected. So it can protect and potentially minimize the consequences of the stroke.

It is still early, but some are calling it a wonderful breakthrough.

Administering clot-busting drugs happens to be the sole treatment for ischemic stroke. But, only 3-5 % of stroke patients really benefit from these medications.

LSU scientists hope to start human clinical trials using the new fish oil substance inside 2 or 3 years.

The DHA treatment has already been shown to be beneficial for patients with coronary heart disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and age-related macular degeneration. This is actually the very first time its potential for stroke has been explored. Dr. Bazan and his team found that DHA therapy is not only able to salvage brain tissue that would have rotted, but its use also renders some of the affected areas indistinguishable from normal tissue within a week.

A summary of the research paper can be found here: Reversing stroke damage.

Specialists Call For Increased Funding Of Stroke Research: Promising New Ideas Require Further Study For More Applicable Therapies

Cerebral stroke is among the most frequent reasons for death and life-long impairment worldwide, greatly burdening affected families and healthcare systems. “In the last decade, breathtaking advances have been made in understanding, among other aspects, the molecular and cellular mechanisms of such events,” Prof. José Manuel Ferro, chairman of Neuroscience with the University of Lisbon, said today at the Meeting of the European Neurological Society (ENS) in Lisbon. More than 3,200 neurological experts from everywhere are currently talking about the most recent advancements in all areas of their area of expertise in the Portuguese capital.

The breakthroughs presented at the ENS Meeting include several brand new findings. They relate to the mechanisms of so-called reperfusion injuries, or strokes that advance despite timely thrombolysis; to promising approaches for restoring the damage to regions of the brain by certain kinds of stem cells; to new observations in to the potentially lethal interplay between the central nervous system and the immune system during stroke; also to methods such as hypothermia to safeguard the stroke-stricken brain from lasting damage.

Searching for the causes of reperfusion injuries

Reperfusion injuries – the occurrence of a ongoing stroke despite the early opening of occluded vessels e.g. by thrombolytic medication – has been a long standing riddle. A new German study (University Wurzburg) provided at the ENS Meeting sheds some light on the hidden elements that could lead the path toward brand new therapies. Studies with mice strongly suggest that the opening of big vessels doesn’t impede the development of thromboses on the microvascular level combined with inflammatory processes. The study also identified multi purpose molecules crucial both in inflammation and in platelet gathering or amassing (the clots of blood designed to close an injury that similarly obstructs the blood-flow in little vessels). Influencing those molecules can lead to long term treatments for combating both thrombus development and inflammation.

Stem cells for damaged brain areas

As with other traumas, the human organism provides mechanisms to auto-repair brain injuries by proliferating stem cells produced in the bone marrow plus distinguishing them into new neurons, arteries and synapses. Researchers have pondered for quite some time that the application of additional stem cells might enhance in addition to accelerate these repair steps, mitigating the disabling effects of cerebral strokes. Brand new results offered at today’s ENS Meeting by the Madrid-based Foundation for Biomedical Research with the University Hospital La Paz bring this approach a huge step nearer to clinical use. Initially, injections of neuronal stem cells and bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, hitherto tested only in animals, were confirmed harmless and practical for humans. Along with other research displaying a lowering of cell death and an increased production of neuronal and vascular cells following the application pursuing the injection of stem cells in mice, this opens up the path for promising phase III studies to evaluate the direct impact of stem cells for the results of stroke in human patients. Hopefully, this can lead to fresh therapeutic methods to support the brain’s self-repair process and reduce the long-term damage leftover after a stroke.

Research on hypothermia inhibition of lasting brain damage need fine tuning

Research into hypothermia as a treatment option to minimize the consequences of a stroke is sophisticated. The process involves slowing down the metabolism and thus the advancement of neuronal brain damage through cooling the patient’s blood to about 32-34°C. “Hypothermia has already proven its neuroprotective properties in improving the neurological outcome of survivors of cardiac arrest and of infants who suffered brain damage from an under-supply with oxygen,” Prof. Ferro reported. “At today’s meeting we heard the first promising results of applying hypothermia in acute ischemic stroke. As expected, it seems to be safe and feasible. But to optimally implement it in daily clinical routines, important details such as depth, duration, the best method for cooling and possible side-effects, including infections, are still being studied.”

Money being a key to applicability

The bottom line is the most important new observations which might produce innovative therapies and prevention strategies over the following few years. However financing these studies remains the crucial problem. Hopefully that this conference will assist to promote that. During times of economic crisis, we must remember that the current money in stoke research can prevent greater long term costs in addition to unnecessary individual suffering of those possibly impacted.

New Research Gives At Home Stroke Therapy Thumbs Up

Can You Save Money with Stroke Therapy at Home But Still Get Results?

According to a new study, a rigorous home-exercise program which emphasizes flexibility, strength and balance ended up being just as effective as high-tech treadmill machines.

The home-based program in addition enjoyed a lower price tag plus a lower drop-out rate than the treadmill option, which in fact had to be done at a clinic.

The research released in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine also found that patients keep making strides in rehabilitation much longer than the typical small windows of believed recovery that are so commonly held to be true (e.g. recovery only happens in the first 3 months after a stroke).

Inside the largest stroke rehabilitation research ever conducted in the us, researchers discovered that stroke patients regain walking ability through at-home strength and balance exercise provided by a physical therapist – and that method worked equally efficiently as when they took part in programs that practice the specific task of walking, by using a treadmill and partial body weight support.

“For individuals who have suffered a stroke, the findings of this trial offer good news for improving walking within the first year post-stroke through intense physical therapy interventions,” said Andrea Behrman, co-principal researcher and an associate professor inside the department of physical therapy at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions.

The Locomotor Experience Applied Post-Stroke, or LEAPS, trial involved in excess of four hundred patients who were at random , assigned to a treadmill training group two or half a year after their stroke or to a home-based therapy program. Primary funding for the study originated from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Patients within the walking training group practiced walking inside a clinic, utilizing a treadmill using a system that gives partial body-weight support, also known as locomotor training. The home-based exercise treatment method program was closely watched by a physical therapist and centered on flexibility, ability to move, strength and balance.

At the one-year mark, fifty-two percent of all of the study contributors had made significant improvements within their walking ability. Both the walking training and exercise program individuals had similar advancements in walking rate, motor recuperation, balance, social participation and quality of life.

But the home-based exercise program may save on health-care costs and promote treatment adherence: Only 3 percent of individuals in the home-based therapy dropped out of the study while 13 % ceased the locomotor training.

“The home physical therapy program is more convenient and pragmatic,” said Pamela W. Duncan, the study’s principal investigator and a professor at Duke University School of Medicine. “Usual care should incorporate more intensive exercise programs that are easily accessible to patients to improve walking, function and quality of life.”

The study staff found that patients within the group who began the therapy half a year after their stroke likewise enhanced their walking. This discovery challenges the widely held belief that patients are only able to make gains in their rehabilitation within the first few months of a stroke, the study say.

“More than 4 million stroke survivors experience difficulty walking. Rigorously comparing available physical therapy treatments is essential to determine which is best,” said Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “The results of this study show that the more expensive, high-tech therapy was not superior to intensive home strength and balance training, but both were better than lower intensity physical therapy.”

Computer Video Games Improve After Stroke Recovery

Stroke patients end up finding it tough to recover hand plus arm movement, with 80-90 % of patients still having problems half a year later. A group of United states medical professionals have used computer games as well as robotic training aids to enhance function of both hand and arm movements simultaneously.

Twelve subjects — 8 male and 4 women, who had experienced a stroke at least 6 months in the past — were required to train 2-3 hrs every day for eight days. Games including Plasma Pong and Hammer Task were used to improve hand-arm co-ordination. At the same time Hummingbird Hunt plus Virtual Piano were utilised to enhance grip and individual finger movement. Following the eight days, all the individuals demonstrated advancements for movement and control of their hand and arm.

The individuals wore a force-reflecting exoskeleton (CyberGrasp) which fits over special robotic gloves (CyberGlove) to be able to assist as well as measure the hand movements. The games were adapted in order that they could be managed using the glove using different hand movements as opposed to a computer mouse.

Following the 8 days, all the individuals demonstrated improvements in mobility and control of their hand and arm. The subjects had greater stability, greater smoothness of motion as well as improved control over their fingers. There were no type of significant improvements within the arms of game players in a control team.

The writers mentioned that the intense training regime could have made the enhancements much more obvious. In standard robot-assisted raining, subjects average a lot more than 500 repetitions of actions per day. However, subjects within this research averaged a lot more than 2,200 repetitions during each two-to-three hour work out. The gaming simulations assisted to make sure that subjects focused on the job at hand. The writers mention previous research where it has been shown how the learning of motor task can be more effective when centered on externally instead of internally-based directions. The video games ensured that subjects focused on certain action goals, or the impact of their actions, rather than on the movements themselves.

Hormonal Link Key to Stroke Recovery

Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy have shown the very first time the fact that high amounts of a bodily hormone that’s linked to the growth hormone system are associated with better long-term recovery throughout the later phases associated with treatment after having a stroke.

Insulin-like growth factor I, IGF-I, is known as a hormone which is found in the bloodstream as well as contributes to, amongst other things, growth and bone mass. The levels of this hormone tend to be greater in people who get some exercise regularly and people with very good overall health.

This study is interesting for 2 reasons. The first is that individuals demonstrate that a bodily hormone is associated with improved long-term recovery, and thus there is certainly still the chance of development – even after three months after the stroke. The second is that levels of this hormone are known to be raised in those who exercise frequently.

It is, nevertheless, vital that you include that the amount of IGF-I are controlled also by other factors for example other growth hormones, inheritance and also nutrition.

The study is founded on 407 individuals aged 18-70 years that are impacted by stroke are followed up for two years following the occurrence.

Researchers have measured the amount of IFG-I in these 407 patients and observed that increased levels are associated with far better recovery, once the level of recuperation has had some rehab..

The research happens to be presented within an article in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

New Findings Research help Stroke Treatment, Cures

Science is always pushing the boundaries as biologist, professors and scientists search for new and improved ways of helping stroke patients.

The methodology of reverse engineering has been applied in every field and helped find a cure for almost anything. In the computer world, this is how hackers break into systems, create better applications, solve computer problems and defeat malicious software like viruses and worms.

New Findings

New Findings

Vaccinations and antibiotics have benefited from this age-old approach. Now, it is being applied to stroke therapy. The advances in learning about how the brain and nervous system adapt to change make it an exciting time in stroke rehabilitation.

Exciting research at UC Irvine Medical Center by neurologist have shown hoe to restore damaged brain cells by reversing the symptoms of a stroke. A growth factor that triggers the nervous system to grow was discovered by the neurologist. This growth factor was applied to 15 stroke patients who made dramatic improvements even after 3 months of the test. The study is progressing through different phases of safe testing. There are still many years of clinical development to validate the safety and efficacy of this type of treatment. The novel therapy has been called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, this growth factor acts on nerve cells in the brain vital to learning, memory and higher thinking. It promotes the growth and connection of nerve cells to improve communication. This is vitally important in stroke rehabilitation where the brain is undergoing neuroplastic changes as it adapts to learning new activities.

Breakthroughs like this open the door for endless possibilities for stroke recovery. It shows the natural inherent ability of the brain to regenerate. We are learning to exploit the natural ability and power of the brain to make lives better, especially for stroke patients.

Neuroplasticity, The Ability of the Brain to Change

The 1990s was declared “The Decade of the Brain”. During this period scientists made many interesting discoveries. Research led to an improved understanding of many brain processes such as memory and emotions. Imaging was used to help identify areas of the brain involved in certain functions such as remembering a face to playing a computer game.

One discovery is rewriting the textbooks. It is the realisation that the brain at any age is not ‘set in stone’, but a malleable, “plastic” organ. A flood of discoveries shows the brain continually reorganises itself. It’s called “neuroplasticity.” And it means that you create your brain from the input you get.

Neuroplasticity basically means the brain is able to change and adapt. For example a part of the brain may, from birth, have been designated “the region where sensations on the right pinkie finger register.” But experiences can rezone the brain. We have all learnt a new skill or refined and improved an old skill. Those changes in learning or improving a skill require changes in the nervous system. If we continually activate certain areas of the nervous system (make them work) or certain pathways of communication, the nervous system is smart and it notes the increased use of the pathway and starts taking steps towards making that pathway more efficient. Good example of people’s nervous systems which have been refined to extraordinary levels are people like musicians or sports people. In musicians the area of the brain responsible for processing sound is so finely tuned that they can pick out an off note out of a whole orchestra of instruments. Or what about the gymnast whose co-ordination and balance is so precise that she can do a summersault and land on one leg on a thin beam.

The idea of neuroplasticity really emphasises the impact that our environmental influences have on shaping our nervous system, for the good or the bad. I often say to my patients that genetics load the gun but environment pulls the trigger. This basically means that we have an appreciation that our inherited genetics may predispose us to head down a certain neurological path, but the final destination is largely determined by our environmental influences. Our environmental influences basically involve our lifestyle factors. Contrast the expected brain health of an elderly person who eats well, regularly does cross-words, Sudoku, has a good social network and exercises regularly versus an individual who eats a poor diet, does not do mental or physical exercise and is not socially active. You do not have to be a neuroscientist to know who would have a healthier brain. Do not underestimate your lifestyle habits and the activities or things you do repetitively and the influence they can have on your brain and nervous system.

Neuro-rehab or rehabilitation of the nervous system is built on the concept of neuroplasticity. The brain is like a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger it grows. Neuroplasticity is the reason why people who have suffered a stroke are able to make recoveries or improvements in some or all of their functioning. The brain and nervous system are highly adaptable. Therapies like constraint induced therapy, which involves forcing the stroke survivor to use their affected hand, can be successful because of neuroplasticity. Performing an activity that originally involves the use of damaged areas of the brain forces the brain and nervous system to adapt, and to find a new way of executing the activity. Repetition with the goal to exercise and not exhaust is the key, especially in neuro-rehabilitation related to stroke recovery.