In a new study, researchers found a new way to treat stroke using an already FDA-approved drug – granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF).
GCSF enhances blood cell development and is currently used to treat neutropenia (low white blood cells) caused by chemotherapy and has successfully been used with very few side effects for patients who require bone marrow transplants to stimulate blood cell formation.
The research was conducted by a team from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death and disability in the United States.
More than 87% are ischemic strokes, caused by obstruction of one or more cerebral arteries.
With limited progress in developing treatments, there is a critical need for neuroprotective agents to effectively treat stroke.
In the study, the team showed that GCSF improved neurological deficits that occur in the first few days following cerebral ischemia and improved long-term behavioral outcomes while also stimulating a neural progenitor recovery response.
Researchers tested behavioral performance on corner and locomotor tests, used as an indicator of brain injury.
They found the efficacy of GCSF beyond the typical four-hour thrombolytic therapy (tPA) clot-busting drug – the gold standard to treat stroke for ischemic stroke.
The team says GCSF is beneficial in neurological disorders such as stroke and traumatic brain injury.
More than 15 million people worldwide suffer from stroke, and this study provides new and important insights into GCSF induced protection as it relates to ER stress and mitochondrial stress-activated apoptosis.
The lead author of the study is Jang-Yen (John) Wu, a distinguished professor of biomedical science in FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine.
The study is published in the Journal of Biomedical Science.
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