Today is World Stroke Day. One in four people will suffer from a stroke within their lifetime. The consequences of having a stroke are often life changing, dramatically altering both physical and mental capacities. Common effects post-stroke include pain, depression, changes in cognition (including dementia), communication difficulties (aphasia) and spasticity (the often-painful, involuntary contraction of muscles and stiffening and tightness of the muscle and joints). It is perhaps therefore unsurprising that stroke is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.
occur when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, resulting in oxygen
starvation and the death of brain cells. The most common form of stroke is an
ischemic stroke in which a clot occurs in an artery supplying the brain. The
second type of stroke is called a haemorrhagic stroke in which a blood vessel
within the brain burst, resulting in bleeding into the brain. The severity of a
stroke and the resulting complications depend on the location and extent of the
damage caused to the brain.
This year, World
Stroke day aims to highlight the preventability
of strokes and the importance of
FAST acting treatment and, to support survivors in enjoying their life
strokes are associated with just 10 risk factors that everyone can act to
minimise: High blood pressure, exercise, diet, weight, smoking, alcohol
consumption, cholesterol, diabetes management, depression and stress, and
atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat).
who are unlucky enough to suffer from a stroke, minimising the damage caused to
the brain is crucial. Many of the drugs available for stoke treatment include
drugs that break up clots to restore blood flow to the brain. However, even
then, damage to the brain often occurs with 1 in 4 survivors suffering from
Regenerative Medicine are paving the way for a future in which some aspects of
brain function could be recovered, thereby alleviating certain stroke symptoms.
Both for ischemic and haemorrhagic strokes, the possibility of stem cell
therapies are being investigated as a means to restore function to damaged
parts of the brain. For ischemic stroke treatment there are now PhaseII/III
clinical trials ongoing, however for haemorrhagic stroke treatment, trials are
still at Phase I/II. Progress in other areas of advanced therapeutic
strategies, for example bio printed scaffolds, have largely only been applied
to treatment of the more common ischemic stroke. Development of these new
technologies is still in the early phases, however, in preclinical animals
models the results are promising. Nonetheless, many questions remain as to the
safety of the materials used and the true efficacy of these treatments in
restoring human brain function after stroke. The aim of RESTORE is to support
and accelerate the development and availability of such Advanced Therapies such
that all patients in need can benefit from the ongoing innovative research in
reviews below provide detailed information about the development of Advanced
Therapies in relation to the treatment of stroke patients. The first review
considers haemorrhagic stroke treatments, whilst the second covers Ischemic
stroke treatment and what the future might look like in terms of tissue
engineering approaches to therapy.