Scientists at UC Irvine begin to develop new stroke therapy

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If you suffer a stroke but miss the three-hour window to get clot-busting drugs, it could mean brain damage and disability. But UC Irvine researchers have discovered a new treatment that could give doctors another option. The treatment appears to work in rats.

UC Irvine scientists found a protein that occurs naturally in humans could be the key to future stroke recovery. The protein normally plays a role in the formation of tissue.

The scientists injected the protein into the brains of rats who’d been disabled by strokes. In the rodent equivalent of a human year, the rats that hadn’t received the injection only regained about 30 percent of the limb function they’d lost. But rats that received the injection recovered 99 percent of that lost movement.

The UCI scientists also looked at administering the protein in a nasal spray. They found rats that received the treatment that way regained about 70 percent of their lost movement.

Of course, the treatment has yet to be tested in humans. But the UCI researchers say their studies are evidence there may be treatments that could repair brain damage from strokes long after the stroke itself.