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Drug Found to Reduce Inflammation in Stroke Patients

Researchers at The University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust have found that an anti-inflammatory drug that was administered to patients in early stages of a stroke has reduced harmful inflammation.

Kineret, the drug licensed for treating rheumatoid arthritis, was given as a small injection under the skin without giving the patients any identifiable adverse reactions. It is also one of the many biologic agents that transform treatment in a range of illnesses.

While the protein, Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is part of the body’s defenses and is naturally produced to combat a range of illnesses, scientists at The University of Manchester have shown that IL-1 increases inflammation and brain injury following a stroke.

Kineret works by blocking the actions of IL-1 after it is released into the body following a stroke. Although, the researchers that have published these findings cannot say for sure how the reduction in inflammation will impact clinical outcomes at this stage.

The study follows earlier conducted research that shows the drug being given as an intravenous therapy that reduces inflammation in stroke and sub arachnoid hemorrhage patients.

The study was a double blind trial where Kineret was tested against a placebo and looked only at ischemic strokes, which are caused by lack of blood flow.

There were 80 participants in the study who were given six doses of the drug placebo over three days, the first dose given within six hours after the onset of stroke symptoms. Before treatment began and during, inflammatory markers were measured in the blood.

While strokes affect everyone in different ways, Professor Craig Smith from The University of Manchester says many people end up having a devastating effect on their long-term health. “Excessive inflammation after a stroke is known to be harmful and predicts a worse outcome in patients,” he also said. “We have shown that Kineret injections, started within six hours of stroke onset significantly reduces levels of inflammation in patients.”

The researchers have shown that Kineret reduces inflammation and is safe in patients with bleeding around the brain, which is known as subarachnoid hemorrhage. Although, further research is needed to see whether Kineret is an effective way to treat ischemic stroke and whether it can be given alongside current treatments such as clot-busting drugs.

In order to test if Kineret improves patient outcomes with subarachnoid hemorrhage a national trial of the drug in 1000 patients will start in 2018. Another trial will also be conducted in 2018, in 80 patients with stroke caused bleeding in the brain, which will see if markers of inflammation are reduced by Kineret and test safety in intracerebral hemorrhage.


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