“A better outcome”for stroke victims

P romising results for a new drug treatment for ischaemic stroke patients have been published today in the journal ‘Lancet Neurology’.

A new drug treatment, Tenecteplase, has been shown to have similar outcomes in limiting the damage done in the brain after a stroke compared with current treatments. Crucially however, it is also far easier to administer and may also be safer.

Ischaemic strokes are caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain, and are treated by injecting ‘clot-busting’ drugs that dissolve the blood clot, restoring blood flow.

There is a four and a half hour window after an ischaemic stroke in which giving clot-busting drug treatment is effective in limiting damage and improving outcome.

Currently, only one drug – Alteplase – is used for acute treatment of stroke. The study, led by Professor Keith Muir, SINAPSE Chair of Clinical Imaging and Consultant Neurologist at the University of Glasgow, compared Alteplase with a newer clot-busting drug called Tenecteplase.

The study, funded by the Stroke Association, showed that incidences of serious adverse events did not differ between the two groups and all neurological and radiological outcomes were similar, despite by chance there being slightly more very severe strokes in the Tenecteplase group.

The results also revealed that potentially fewer people had a brain haemorrhage as a complication of treatment with Tenecteplase.

Researchers believe that Tenecteplase could become a less expensive and easier to administer treatment for ischaemic stroke patients; a larger clinical trial will be needed in the to test Tenecteplase fully, and plans for such a trial are at an advanced stage.