Scientists in England believe that they are close to an incredible breakthrough in the manner in which traumatic brain injuriesare treated following strokes. When a person suffers a stroke, the severity is often determined by how much inflammation takes place immediately after. However, researchers at the University of Manchester in London contend that a drug previously used for treating rheumatoid arthritis may now reduce that inflammation by as much as 55% if used in treatment and even prevention.
Anakinra is a popular drug used in treating arthritis, as it fights the protein interleukin, which causes joint damage. According to the Manchester research, interleukins are also the proteins most responsible for significant brain damage following a stroke, so the researchers administered the drug, also known as IL-1Ra, on rats that were genetically engineered to exhibit stroke symptoms, and the results showed that the healthy rats suffered 55% less inflammation and brain damage than the rats that were treated with placebos.
According to India’s Zee News, this is a major breakthrough for the team of professors Nancy Rothwell and Stuart Allen and their 20 years of stroke research.
Rothwell said: “This is the first time that we are aware of a potential new treatment for stroke being tested in animals with the same sort of diseases and risk factors that most patients have. The results are
very promising and we hope to undertake further clinical studies in stroke patients soon.”
Allan said: “This drug has real potential to save lives and stop hundreds of thousands of people being seriously disabled by stroke. This really could be the treatment for stroke that we`ve been looking for over the past two decades.”
Anakinra also showed great potential in protecting the blood-brain barrier of the rats, which marks the second recent significant breakthrough in understanding and treating damage to that essential part of the brain. The barrier separates the circulating blood from the brain’s other fluids, and it stops disease and bacteria from entering that fluid and harming the brain. However, the barrier also stops medicine from reaching the brain, which makes it more difficult for physicians to treat patients and scientists to develop better drugs.
Fortunately, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently experienced a breakthrough in replicating the blood-brain barrier in order to study it. With multiple advancements and better understanding of the brain’s specific features and how medicines affect them, scientists could be closer than ever to developing unimaginable stroke and brain injury treatments.