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Researchers find how anti-cancer drug can improve symptoms after stroke

ANI Mar 01, 2024

An investigation conducted by the UAB's Institut de Neurociencies (INc-UAB) showed the advantages of vorinostat in the experimental models following a stroke.

The medication has been shown to lessen brain damage and aid in the restoration of brain tissue. It is used to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma in humans.

The second most common cause of mortality globally is an ischemic stroke, which happens when there is a blockage preventing blood flow to the brain. The brain suffers damage and functional impairment when it is depleted of oxygen for an extended length of time. The most common modifiable risk factor for stroke is hypertension, which is linked to worse outcomes.

Currently, there is only one pharmacological treatment to attenuate the effects of stroke, but it does not work for all patients and is associated with some important adverse effects. Now, researchers at the Institut de Neurociencies of the UAB (INc-UAB) were able to demonstrate that vorinostat (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid) has great potential in treating brain lesions derived from strokes.

This drug, used in the treatment of one type of cutaneous lymphoma, inhibits histone deacetylases, enzymes that regulate gene expression by modifying the acetylation levels of a group of proteins called histones.

In an article published in the journal Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, the research group demonstrates in a model of stroke in a hypertensive experimental model very close to the clinical situation, how the use of the drug helps the experimental models to improve neurological deficits, reduce brain damage and attenuate the inflammatory response, among other effects.

"We saw that a single dose of the drug, applied during the reperfusion period, prevented multiple factors associated with stroke pathology. This opens the path for research with this type of treatment beyond the preclinical phase," explains Andrea Diaz, first author of the article.

In addition, researchers were able to demonstrate that the treatment not only protects the brain, but also the surrounding vessels, and does so even a few hours after the stroke occurs.

"Given the urgent clinical need for drugs to treat acute ischemic stroke, and that vorinostat is approved for human use, these findings should encourage further preclinical research to evaluate, for example, its effects in females and older the experimental models, in the experimental models with other common stroke comorbidities such as diabetes, its long-term effects, etc. This would pave the way for the correct design of future clinical trials to test its efficacy and safety in patients who have suffered a stroke," concludes study coordinator Francesc Jimenez-Altayo, a researcher from the Department of Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Toxicology at the UAB and the Cardiovascular Diseases Area of the Centre for Biomedical Research Network (CIBERCV).

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