UC scientists working with researchers in
Australia, Denmark and Germany have shown that early treatment with a
recombinant blood clotting factor can save the lives of patients with a
form of stroke known as intracerebral (brain) hemorrhage.
Early treatment with recombinant
activated factor VII, marketed as NovoSeven, can also improve the
likelihood that brain hemorrhage patients will be able to speak, walk
and eat normally again.
Brain hemorrhage, the most deadly kind of
stroke, occurs when an artery in the brain bursts and floods adjacent
brain tissue with blood. Forty percent of patients with brain
hemorrhage die within 30 days, and only 20 percent of survivors recover
enough to live independently after a year.
The researchers, including Joseph
Broderick, MD, head of UC's neurology department, reported the results
of a study of 400 brain hemorrhage patients in the Feb. 24 issue of the
New England Journal of Medicine.
The patients were divided into four
groups of 100, three of which were treated with small, medium and low
doses of NovoSeven, while the fourth received an inactive placebo.
While 69 percent of patients who did not
receive NovoSeven died or were severely disabled, the researchers
report, the drug reduced the incidence in patients receiving small,
medium and low doses to 55, 49 and 54 percent respectively.
Key to the patients' survival, however,
Dr. Broderick points out, is that they receive NovoSeven treatment
within four hours of onset of intracerebral bleeding.
"Stopping the bleeding as quickly as
possible with recombinant factor VII is just one more compelling reason
for patients with stroke symptoms to call 911 and get to the hospital
as quickly as pos-sible," Dr. Broderick says.
These latest NovoSeven studies are based
in part on work done by UC College of Medicine scientists during the
late 1980s and 1990s. They were first to demonstrate conclusively that
bleeding continues for several hours after onset of a brain hemorrhage
and is a major reason for the rapid deterioration in these patients.
The first evidence that NovoSeven
represented a possible breakthrough in the treatment of brain
hemorrhage was re-ported last year to the 5th World Stroke Congress in