LONDON (SHARECAST) - Medical technology group Proteome Sciences has released details of a study into a blood test which could reduce brain damage in thousands of stroke victims.
The group has been collaborating with researchers at the University of Geneva to produce the test which can tell how long ago a stroke actually took place.
The exact timing of a stroke has a big influence on the kind of therapy that is used to help patients recover. Treated quickly, the brain damage caused by strokes can be significantly reduced, but as many strokes take place during sleep, it is often difficult to know when the symptoms began.
During the study, scientists found one protein, known as GSTP, which showed an almost instantaneous increase in the blood of stroke patients, peaking at three hours after onset and returning to normal levels within around six hours.
Extrapolating the results across patients who were admitted to the Geneva Hospital in 2006/7 with suspected stroke, but who did not know when their stroke symptoms started, indicates that testing for GSTP could result in as many as five times more people being eligible for the highly effective “rt-PA” treatment, which can only be used within 4.5 hours of a stroke under UK medical guidelines.
The leader of the study, Professor Jean-Charles Sanchez, said: "This is a major step towards improving the management of ischaemic stroke patients using the drugs that we already have available. A simple blood test that matches the therapeutic window of rt-PA is a major advance."
Dr Peter Coleman, Deputy Director of Research at The Stroke Association agreed, adding: "When a stroke strikes, time lost is brain lost, meaning that getting to hospital and receiving treatment quickly is absolutely essential.
"A test such as this which could be used to quickly diagnose a stroke, possibly before a patient arrives at hospital, could speed up the treatment process and potentially improve outcomes.”
Proteome’s share price rose 3.2% on Tuesday morning and has now gained 63% in the last 12 months.