Israeli drug could save stroke victims

Synthetic peptide significantly enhances the only currently approved drug to get blood flow moving to the brain after a stroke.

 

Could a new Israeli treatment help save millions of people from death and severe disability after a stroke?

The six-person team of the recently funded company Thrombotech believes they have a fighting chance. Their new drug amplifies the effects of one of the only existing stroke medications on the market, while preventing dangerous side effects.

There is a critical window of time needed to get to the hospital if you are having a stroke. If it is an ischemic stroke, meaning an artery to the brain is blocked, doctors must get the blood flowing to the brain quickly.

The only approved treatment for this today is an enzyme called tPA. If given within three hours, tPA dissolves the blood clots blocking the flow of blood to the brain. However, it can be used in just 10 percent of cases and can cause life-threatening side effects such as hemorrhaging.

Yet except for tPA, there isn’t much in a doctor’s arsenal for fighting the serious effects of strokes, which are the leading cause of disability in the world and the third leading cause of death in the United States after cancer and heart disease.

This is precisely the unmet market need, worth about $3 billion per year, that Ness Ziona-based Thrombotech is targeting.

Dramatically better results

Rather than venture into the complicated and historically unsuccessful realm of trying to develop new neuro-protectant drugs, Thrombotech devised a technology to make the existing stroke treatment, tPA, more potent and effective.

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By Karin Kloosterman

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