Researchers state NA-1 has succeeded where other similar drugs have failed
Dr. Michael Hill MD, MSc. FRCPC, Director of the Stroke Unit at Foothills Medical Center and University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute led a team of Canadian scientists and clinicians in a landmark clinical trial that has demonstrated the neuroprotective drug NA-1 protects the human brain against damaging effects of stroke.View slideshow: Treatable factors for stroke
The drug was developed by Dr. Michael Tymianski at the Krembil Neuroscience Center in the mid 1900’s.
Since that time researchers had been working to ensure the drug was “robust enough to bring forward to testing in humans,” stated Dr. Hill.
The standard treatments of aneurysms, stenting and coiling are sensitive procedures which have a high risk of triggering small ischemic strokes in over 90% of patients.
In this randomized, double-blinded, multi-center trial that was conducted in Canada and the U.S. received either NA-1 (Tat-NR2B9c) or a placebo. The patients that had been treated with NA-1had showed a reduction in the amount of brain damage sustained as a result of aneurysm repair procedure. Furthermore in patients who had ruptured brain aneurysm that were treated with the new drug, all had good neurological outcomes in comparison to only 68% of patients treated with the placebo.
“What we think we’ve shown is a proof of concept that you can treat human stroke and prevent the strokes from occurring with NA-1,” said Dr. Hill. “The results of this clinical trial represent a major leap forward for stroke research.”
Dr. Michel Tymianski , developer of the drug , who oversaw the development of the drug through clinical trials stated "This clinical trial is, to our knowledge, the first time that a drug aimed at increasing the resistance of the brain to stroke, has been shown to reduce stroke damage in humans. No efforts should be spared to develop it further,"
There is only one approved acute stroke therapy available called t-PA, an injectable drug that works to unblock the arteries to the brain but is only beneficial in a portion of stroke victims and has serious potential side effects as bleeding into the brain or fatal bleeding.
Millie Nelles had participated in the clinical trial. She had suffered from a rare brain disorder which resulted in suffering from agonizing pain for more than a year and had surgery to alleviate the pain. Shortly after the procedure her doctors discovered she had a brain aneurysm and would require another operation to repair the damage. The sensitive procedure would more than likely leave her at high risk for stroke.
When approached by her medical team to see if she would be willing to participate in this clinical trail she had agreed and at the trail she received NA-1.
Nellie had survived her surgery but the best part came as an MRI after the procedure was completed had revealed she did not suffer a stroke.
Nelles told the Calgary Harold “When found out it was the real drug, I honestly know this drug saved my life. “
Dr. Tymianski commented “The benefits of this can be explored not only for stroke, but for other conditions such as vascular dementia.”
This trial is published online in The Lancet Neurology.