Stroke research received a further boost of $1.285 million from the Commonwealth Government’s Medical Research Future Fund.
The grant will fund a clinical trial using a new drug to help reduce the effects of strokes caused by bleeds in the brain, known as intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and it will be trialed in Australia’s first Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU).
Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Professor Steve Davis, Director Melbourne Brain Centre said ICH accounts for 15% of stroke in Australia and is a greatly under-researched health priority with significant long-term health and economic impacts.
“After a stroke, brain cells die at a rate of 1.9 million a minute. The faster medical treatment begins the more brain cells are saved, improving the chance of survival,” Professor Davis said.
ICH is associated with higher mortality and worse functional outcomes than ischemic stroke. Despite major therapeutic advances in ischemic stroke, ICH remains an essentially untreatable disease and stroke clinicians have few options to influence the patient’s overall health outcome. In some cases, surgery is helpful but there is little proven medical therapy.
Professor Davis described the study has the potential to change the treatment of ICH.
“The study is called STOP – MSU and we will be trialing the use of a drug known as Tranexamic Acid (TXA), which is currently used to treat or prevent excessive blood loss,” Professor Davis said.
“This drug helps to stop bleeding from ruptured blood vessels. In ICH, most patients have early expansion of their hemorrhage due to ongoing bleeding. The drug will be given to the patients after their CT scan in the MSU identifies the type of stroke.
The STOP-MSU trial has been approved by the Melbourne Health HREC and has just commenced.