A New Treatment for Stroke Patients

A recent research study funded by Australian Rotary Health has kick-started a revolutionary way we may treat blood clot formations in the brain. ARH Scholar, Jason Palazzolo, and a team from Monash University investigated a clot-busting agent, called ‘SCE5-scuPA’, uncovering significantly positive results.

More than 100 Australians have a stroke every day. The most common stroke, ischaemic stroke, is caused when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is obstructed by a clot. It is one of the top five leading causes of death for Australian men and women, accounting for 5.3% of all deaths in Australia. Stroke also makes up 2.7% of the total burden of disease in Australia, the third-highest disease burden in people aged 85 and over.

Jason Palazzolo received a General Health PhD Scholarship co-funded by Australian Rotary Health and the Rotary District of Tasmania (9830) in 2018, to conduct research in thrombosis (see image below of Mr Palazzolo talking about his research at a ‘Meet the Researchers Night’ in May 2022).

The research study examined a new drug candidate, SCE5-scuPA, a drug made up of two proteins; a clot-targeting antibody (termed ‘SCE5’) and a clot-dissolving enzyme, urokinase (‘scuPA’). The study showed that SCE5-scuPA effectively minimised the extent of brain damage and improved the neurological deficit following stroke. Moreover, the drug presented better safety outcomes regarding intracranial bleeding side effects than another drug currently used in stroke treatment called t-PA.

“This project aimed to offer Australian and worldwide patients suffering from thrombosis an improved quality of life and significantly reduce burden of disease,” said Mr Palazzolo. “There is a clinical need to offer stroke patients new and improved treatment options in order to increase the likelihood of their survival and reduce their disability after stroke.”

Mr Palazzolo’s findings were published in ‘Blood Advances’ in April 2022, click here to view. The research was also covered by Monash University, click here to view.


Media contact: Alexander Galati – alexander@arh.org.au

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