New drug heals nervous system damage from stroke

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

August 1, 2022 -- A new drug can repair nervous system damage caused by a stroke, at least in animal studies. Currently, no U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs repair nervous system damage but researchers from the University of Cincinnati and Case Western Reserve University found that one drug resulted in significant improvement in motor function, sensory function, spatial learning, and memory.

In their preclinical study, the research team looked at what happens when NVG-291-R is taken after a severe ischemic stroke. They found the drug not only results in neuroprotection to reduce neuronal death, but also had "robust" neuroreparative effects (Cell Reports, July 26, 2022).

Using staining techniques, the researchers found the drug creates new neuronal connections and enhances migration of newly born neurons derived from neuronal stem cells to the site of the brain damage. The increase in axonal sprouting to the damaged part of the brain enhanced plasticity, which translated into nervous system improvements.

Also, unlike other stroke therapies, NVG-291-R can be administered a week after symptom onset. However, further study and validation of the results is needed to determine if the drug works in humans.

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