For the 800,000 people in the United States who suffer a stroke each
year, the window for drug therapy closes in the first few hours after
the attack. That leaves some seven million stroke survivors in this
country alone with no medical alternative beyond physical therapy. A
small pharmaceutical company in New York hopes to change that with a
drug that may help patients regain some of their lost mobility six
months or more after a stroke.
Strokes happen when blood stops flowing to part of the brain, often
due to a blood clot. Without blood to bring new oxygen, cells in the
affected region start to die. If the symptoms of stroke are recognized
quickly enough and the victim is brought to a hospital within a few
hours, doctors can administer a clot-dissolving drug to minimize the
damage. But only a small fraction of stroke patients seek medical
attention soon enough for this intervention.