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Scientists develop new stroke therapy

world Updated: Jan 14, 2010 13:01 IST

Raising hope of hundreds of thousands of people paralysed due to stroke, scientists claimed to have developed a drug that could restore up to 99 per cent of lost movement in the patients.

Researchers from the University of California successfully tested the drug -- TGF alpha -- on rats and said it was worth trying in humans as it could almost totally reverse paralysis caused by strokes.

Senior author Prof James Fallon said, the drug, which triggers the growth of new brain cells, is based on a protein called Transforming Growth Factor alpha (TGF alpha), which plays a role in tissue formation.

The drug given to rats' month after having a stroke regained nearly all-motor functions inside four weeks, the journal Neuroscience reported.

The researchers discovered a naturally occurring protein in humans that has been found to restore motor function in rats after a stroke.

When administered directly to the brain, the protein appeared to restore 99 per cent of lost movement and if given through the nose, 70 per cent of lost movement is regained. Moreover, untreated rats improved by only 30 per cent.

"No drugs exist that will help a stroke after a few days. If you have a stroke, you don't have many treatment options," said Fallon.