quinta-feira, 12 de maio de 2011

Vampire Bats Could Help Stroke Patients

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Vampire bat. (Ohio State University Medical Center)
Updated: Wednesday, 11 May 2011, 12:10 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 11 May 2011, 12:04 PM EDT
(EndPlay Staff Reports) - Scientists say a vampire bat's saliva may give stroke sufferers a better chance at survival.
Here's why: vampire bat saliva contains a potent clot-busting substance, which could help more patients survive than current medications, reported the online publication Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association .
While an enzyme known as desmoteplase, or DSPA, was first discovered in 2003, only now are doctors developing a drug from it – called Draculin.
The enzyme thins the blood of a vampire bat victim so the blood flows freely. This allows the bat to feed and makes the substance that has become a candidate for treating strokes.
TIME reported that about 87 percent of the 795,000 strokes that affect Americans each year are known as ischemic strokes. Blood clots that clog blood vessels in the brain block adequate blood and oxygen flow and resulting in tissue death. The results can be lasting effects like paralysis, cognitive deficits and speech problems.
Ohio State University Medical Center conducted the first human study of the compound in 2006. The study showed that the medication was safe, and that patients tolerated it well, TIME reported.
Also, researchers at Monash University in Australia injected the brains of mice with both DSPA and rt-PA, the currently FDA-approved clog-busting drug. Because the DSPA attacked fibrin and did not act upon two brain receptors known to promote brain damage, the scientists suggest that DSPA could be administered up to nine hours after stroke onset without adverse effects, reported Scientific American .
A new national study underway at Ohio State is to determine whether the drug has any clinical benefit in stroke patients.
"Time is brain," Ohio State's Dr. Michel Torbey, who is leading the research, said in a statement . "We would like to offer an option to our patients at any time they come in after a stroke. Unfortunately, the longer it takes for them to come, the less options are available, because the damage has already occurred in the brain."
The American Heart Association said human trials of DSPA are currently underway in Europe, Asia and Australia.

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