A University of Arizona professor is overseeing the manufacture of an experimental drug that could help reduce brain damage after a stroke.
The drug, known as 3K3A-APC, currently is undergoing clinical trials in Europe to determine its safety in humans after proving effective in animal models at reducing brain damage and improving motor skills after a stroke when given in combination with another commonly used stroke therapy.
Thomas Davis, professor of pharmacology in the UA College of Medicine, was chosen to direct the manufacture of the drug for human trials after co-authoring a recent paper in the journal Stroke that pointed to the drug’s effectiveness in rats and mice when used in conjunction with a clot-busting therapy known as tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA.
While tPA is commonly given to sufferers of ischemic stroke, which results from an obstruction in a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain, the therapy poses significant challenges when administered alone, including a limited treatment window, Davis said.
“It has to be given within the first three to four and a half hours of the stroke,” Davis said. “It only works in 10 percent of the patients, and it causes bleeding, so tPA alone isn’t that effective.”