Spider Venom Could Protect the Brain after a Stroke

in Science & Tech by

A small protein from a spider’s venom could protect the brain after a stroke, say Australian researchers.

For the first time, scientists believe a new way has been found to minimize the devastating effects of a stroke on the brain.

This protein, called “Hi1a”, blocks the brain mechanism that is primarily responsible for damage that occurs after a stroke.

Pre-clinical studies have shown that a single dose of this protein administered up to eight hours after a stroke protects the brain tissue and greatly improves neurological performance, according to Professor Glenn King at the University of Queensland, Australia.

A stroke, which results from the formation of a blood clot, causes six million deaths a year worldwide and leaves five million survivors with permanent disabilities.

Professor King said that one of the most promising aspects of this protein is that it provides exceptional levels of protection for eight hours after a stroke, which is a remarkably long window of treatment.

This protein provides even a certain degree of protection to the central regions of the brain that are most affected by oxygen deprivation and are generally unrecoverable due to the rapid destruction of cells resulting from a stroke.

Researchers are currently working to raise money to fund clinical trials in order to quickly market this promising treatment.

The study has been published on Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons