More Than a Clot Buster
By Quinn Eastman
The clot-busting drug tPA has been considered a double-edged sword for people experiencing a stroke. It can help restore blood flow to the brain, but it also can increase the likelihood of deadly hemorrhage.
Many people experiencing a stroke do not receive tPA because the window for giving the drug is limited to the first few hours after onset.
Emory neurologist Manuel Yepes may have found a way to open that window with a modified version of the drug.
Even when its clot-dissolving powers are removed, tPA can still protect brain cells in animals from the loss of oxygen and glucose induced by a stroke, Yepes’s team reported in the Journal of Neuroscience (July 2012). “We may have been giving the right medication for the wrong reason,” Yepes says. “tPA is more than a clot-busting drug. It functions naturally as a neuroprotectant.