It’s a homegrown discovery that could help tens of thousands of people around the world. A Toronto neurosurgeon has discovered a promising drug that could limit brain damage during strokes.
In a lab at Toronto Western Hospital, Dr. Michael Tymianski created “NA-1,” a drug shown to lessen damage caused from reduced blood flow to the brain during a stroke in both human and animal studies.
At the moment, the only way for stroke victims to avoid brain damage is to get treatment with clot-busting drugs within about three hours of the onset of the stroke. Less than 5 per cent do. This new drug would allow the brain to hold its breath so to speak — extending the window of time that patients would have for obtaining treatment.
The discovery comes after more than 1,000 attempts by many scientists to find a similar drug and 10 years of work by Tymianski’s lab. The clinical trial involved comparing the drug to a placebo in more than 180 patients at 14 hospitals in Canada and the United States.
Those treated with NA-1 had a 50-per-cent reduction in brain damage. Dr. Tymianski says it will take another three to fours for the drug to go through the approval process. The research is published in the journal Lancet Neurology.
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