Investigational Drug May Help Reduce Injury After a Stroke

Animal research shows that an investigational drug that blocks the enzyme Cdk5 might help reduce the injury that can result following a stroke, a potential complication of lupus. Currently, the only options to prevent brain damage after a stroke are surgery or the clot-busting drug tPA.

Published in Journal of Neuroscience by investigators at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the study showed that the enzyme Cdk5 can destroy nerve cells during a stroke. Investigators tested the effects of an experimental Cdk5 inhibitor among mice that had undergone a stroke. The Cdk5 inhibitor reduced damage to nerves and brain tissue.

"If we could block Cdk5 in patients who have just suffered a stroke, we may be able to reduce the number of patients in our hospitals who become disabled or die from stroke. Doing so would have a major impact on health care," said Dr. James Bibb, Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study..

However, as reporter Emily Mullin points out in her article in FierceBiotech Research, previous research has suggested that long-term use of Cdk5 inhibitors could have harmful effects. "Cdk5 regulates communication between nerve cells and is essential for proper brain function. Therefore, blocking Cdk5 long-term may not be beneficial," Dr. Bibb said.