(01/30/14) - We have all heard that, when it comes to stroke, time lost is brain lost. Now, there is a new way to save time, and potentially many lives.
It is a breakthrough treatment doctors are testing out right now.
Most strokes are caused by a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood to the brain. If you get help within three hours, you can get a drug called TPA.
Emergency room doctor, Arthur Pancioli, says TPA comes with some risks, "that drug, one in about 16 patients that you treat, 16 or 17, will have bleeding into the brain."
Dr. George Shaw and fellow researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine are testing a new technique to dissolve human blood clots more quickly, without the risk of bleeding.
Shaw says they are using a natural enzyme called plasmin, "and it's the most effective therapy we've ever looked at."
The plasmin is loaded into a special bubble called a liposome, then sent through an IV directly to the clot.
Shaw explains, next they, "pop that bubble with an ultrasound pulse, and release the plasmin right where you want it."
"I think it's going to be a major step forward for stroke therapy," says Dr. Shaw.
As with TPA, doctors will still need to give the plasmin within three hours of the onset of stroke. Clinical trials could start in five years.
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