Treatment protocol for patients who’ve experienced an ischemic stroke – caused by a blood clot that blocks bloodflow to part of the brain — generally focuses on restoring blood supply to limit brain injury.
But restoring bloodflow, and the crucial oxygen it carries with it, must be done very quickly after a stroke to be optimally successful. And restoring bloodflow doesn’t address other complications, such as brain inflammation.
Researchers have been looking for a way to combat inflammation by targeting the patient’s immune system, which can inadvertently cause damaging inflammation.
A study team of Ali Alawieh and Stephen Tomlinson (Medical University of South Carolina) and E. Farris Langley (Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, S.C.) focused on a way to stop the patient’s natural immune system from attacking and injuring brain tissue at the site of the stroke — and only at that site.
They accomplished this by combining a molecule that inhibits the body’s complement system with an antibody that can identify damaged cells. The B4Crry combination was given in a single dose to mice that had sustained strokes.
Alawieh, Tomlinson and Langley found that B4Crry protected the brains of the mice that were given the doses within 24 hours of sustaining a stroke.
A report in Scientific American added that researchers found that B4Crry remained active for only a few days, which thus allowed the brain’s immune functions to begin to function again as part of the normal healing process.
The study was published in Science Translational Medicine in May.