A NEW clot-busting drug that has fewer side-effects could help give more people access to the lifesaving treatment.
Melbourne researchers have found a way to attach an antibody to urokinase, an existing clot-busting agent.
The antibody only binds to thousands of targets in the clot, dissolving the blockage with precision. Present drugs carry the risk of excessive bleeding.
Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute’s Christop Hagemeyer said the new treatment could dissolve a clot with six times less of the drug in mice with no added risk of excessive bleeding
It would also make patients who cannot take clot-busting drugs because of the side-effects, such as the elderly and people on blood-thinning drugs, eligible for treatment.
He said one of the drugs now administered for stroke could be neurotoxic if given too late, but the new drug might avoid that complication.
Heart Foundation chief medical adviser Professor James Tatoulis said the new drug could be administered earlier by paramedics, before a patient gets to hospital, reducing the damage to their body.
If the group can get funding for trials, the drug could be on the market within five years.
The research was published in Circulation Research.
Prof Hagemeyer said the drug had the potential to significantly reduce the cost to the health system by improving outcomes for stroke and heart attack victims.
“The earlier you can restore blood flow to the vital organs the less damage and disability.”