This drug can help reduce inflammation in stroke patients

The drug, Kineret, licenced for treating rheumatoid arthritis, was given as a small injection just under the skin without giving the patients any identifiable adverse reactions. It is one of biologic agents transforming treatment in a range of illnesses.

health Updated: Mar 27, 2018 15:59 IST
Asian News International, Washington D.C.
Kineret works by blocking the actions of IL-1 which is released into the body following injury caused by a stroke. (Shutterstock)

Turns out, this drug reduces inflammation in stroke patients. According to a study led by the University of Manchester, an anti-inflammatory drug given to patients in the early stages of a stroke has been shown by researchers to reduce harmful inflammation.

The drug, Kineret, licenced for treating rheumatoid arthritis, was given as a small injection just under the skin without giving the patients any identifiable adverse reactions. It is one of biologic agents transforming treatment in a range of illnesses.

The protein Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is part of the body’s defences and naturally produced to combat a range of illnesses. However, scientists at the University of Manchester have previously shown IL-1 increases inflammation and brain injury following a stroke.

Kineret works by blocking the actions of IL-1 which is released into the body following injury caused by a stroke. The team of researchers cannot say for sure at this stage how the reduction in inflammation will impact on clinical outcomes.

The study follows earlier research that shows the drug given as an intravenous therapy reduces inflammation in stroke and sub arachnoid haemorrhage patients. A stroke occurs when poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic, caused by lack of blood flow, and haemorrhagic, caused by bleeding in the brain.

Stroke is the most common cause of disability in adults and a leading cause of death worldwide. The Manchester study - a double blind trial where Kineret was tested against placebo - looked at ischemic strokes only. The 80 Participants in the study - carried out at Salford’s Greater Manchester Stroke Centre at Salford Royal- were given 6 doses of the drug or placebo over three days. The first dose was given within 6 hours after the onset of the stroke symptoms.

Inflammatory markers were measured in the blood before treatment began and during study treatment. Professor Craig Smith from The University of Manchester is also a stroke physician at Salford Royal. He said, “Though Strokes affect different people in different ways, for many people they have a devastating effect on their long-term health and wellbeing.

“Excessive inflammation after a stroke is known to be harmful and predicts a worse outcome in patients.” “We have shown that Kineret injections, started within six hours of stroke onset significantly reduces levels of inflammation in patients.”

“The research has not yet proven that this drug can reduce patient disability after stroke. However, if further trials are successful, we hope it could vastly improve outcomes and quality of life for people who have had a stroke.” The same research team has shown that Kineret reduces inflammation and is safe in patients with bleeding around the brain, a condition known as subarachnoid haemorrhage.

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 15:59 IST