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A breakthrough in battle against stroke

The risk of sustaining a serious disability from a stroke can be reduced with the use of peptides, researchers in West Australia have found. “It is an important development in stroke research,” said Professor David Blacker, medical director, West Australian Neuroscience Research Institute. Experimental peptides succeeded in reducing the volume of damage caused by stroke in rats.

If this can be applied to humans, critical bits of the brain could be protected from damage. Professor Blacker, who is also a neurologist at Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, said most researchers had given up trying to find such a treatment. The peptides particularly target vulnerable tissue that may eventually become damaged. They aim to inhibit or suppress the brain damage that occurs after stroke.

This trial was done on rats and it is expected to be some years before the peptides are tested on humans in a clinical trial. But Professor Blacker said time is always of the essence when it comes to stroke research. “One in six people in the world will have a stroke,” he said.

The team also hopes to secure funding to explore how the peptides could help people suffering from other conditions, including cardiac arrest and spinal injury.

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