Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston are using a new method that has the potential to safely and more effectively remove blood clots in stroke patients.
The current treatment for stroke uses the therapeutic infusion of tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, which helps dissolve blood clots and restore blood flow in patients. However, this treatment poses risk of bleeding and swelling in the brain, and is only effective if administered within three hours of the stroke.
Researchers at Joslin used animal models to give a drug combination with tPA that could improve patient outcomes and extend the time table for effective treatment.
Drugs that target a protein called plasma kallikrein, as well as an activator protein called factor XII, "may provide the opportunity to make tPA safer by reducing these complications and increasing its efficacy in opening blood vessels," Edward Feener, Ph.D., corresponding author of the study, said in a press release.
Researchers induced blood clots into the brains of mice and then treated them with tPA. The mice were also given a plasma kallikrein inhibitor and results showed the mice produced lower amounts of the protein, showed significantly less bleeding, brain swelling and damage to areas of the brain than control animals without the plasma kallikrein inhibitor.
The study found that tPA activates plasma kallikrein through the Factor XII, which promotes coagulation.
The study was published in the journal Blood.