Airdate: Feb 15, 2016
Scientist: Michelle Theus
Strokes - Drugs to Prevent
Scientists are trying to develop a drug that could help stroke patients maximize whatever bypass arteries they may have.
Preventing StrokesWhen there's a blockage in the arteries in our brain, it can cause a stroke. Some people possess a backup network of arteries, called collaterals, that can re-route blood flow after a stroke and help the brain to heal. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Not everyone has these collateral arteries in their brain and scientists are trying to figure out why.Theus: Our working hypothesis is that during development that the growth of these bypass or collateral vessels is influenced by the immune cells of the embryo, which could be regulated by environmental factors of the mother. Dr. Michelle Theus is an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. Theus: Perhaps in the future a dietary supplement or a change in diet of the mother, or a pharmaceutical drug could potentially influence the developing fetuses' collateral system.Dr Theus and her team are also trying to develop a drug that could help stroke patients maximize whatever bypass arteries they may have.Theus: We've identified one protein in the brain that we believe is an inhibitory signal to prevent those bypass vessels from enlarging or doing their job. We may potentially have a drug that blocks that protein, thereby allowing the bypass system to enlarge and reroute blood flow and establish a proper functioning brain.These drugs that we're looking at in the laboratory, they don't last very long in the bloodstream. One way that we're trying to not only get it to the brain, but were trying to enhance its longevity in the brain - is to tag it to a nanoparticle. So we can not only hopefully prevent the early stages of stroke, but these particles may stick around longer to help the brain recover in the long-term.I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.