, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 434-451
Date: 21 May 2011

Investigational Therapies for Ischemic Stroke: Neuroprotection and Neurorecovery

Abstract

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Current treatment strategies for ischemic stroke primarily focus on reducing the size of ischemic damage and rescuing dying cells early after occurrence. To date, intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator is the only United States Food and Drug Administration approved therapy for acute ischemic stroke, but its use is limited by a narrow therapeutic window. The pathophysiology of stroke is complex and it involves excitotoxicity mechanisms, inflammatory pathways, oxidative damage, ionic imbalances, apoptosis, angiogenesis, neuroprotection, and neurorestoration. Regeneration of the brain after damage is still active days and even weeks after a stroke occurs, which might provide a second window for treatment. A huge number of neuroprotective agents have been designed to interrupt the ischemic cascade, but therapeutic trials of these agents have yet to show consistent benefit, despite successful preceding animal studies. Several agents of great promise are currently in the middle to late stages of the clinical trial setting and may emerge in routine practice in the near future. In this review, we highlight select pharmacologic and cell-based therapies that are currently in the clinical trial stage for stroke.