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Oct 8, 2012 9:54 AM by marissa torres

Breakthrough stroke treatment

After decades of failed experiments, Canadian researchers have developed a new stroke treatment. It may be able to protect the brain from devastating damage caused by strokes. Scientists says it requires more testing, but it is looking hopeful.

Mille Nelles is the first patient in the world to receive the experimental stroke drug NA-One. She was one of a group of patients who had surgery for a brain aneurysm; it was a surgery that put her a high risk of having a stroke. 

IT was a double-blind, randomized control trial, meaning she didn't kow if she had recieved the placebo or the real thing.

"When Carol called me a year and a half later and said we got the results and you received the real drug, and you are patient 001."

Millie says she feels better than she has in years, but doctors say there is a long way to go before the drug is widely available.

"It's a proof of concept study that tells us that... we can do nuero protection with medicines in people," says Dr. Michael Hill of the University of Calagary.

It's a proof of concept that has been a long time coming- for years scientists have tried, without success, to develop a drug that would reduce the risk of lasting damage from a stroke. That is, until now. 

Dr. John Wong, a nuerosurgeon with the University of Calgary says the drug limits damage to their brain cell at the nuero, so that it may prevent damage, or potentially reverse damage.

The next step is to try it on a larger gropu, perhaps before they ever get to the hospital. Dr. Hill says that line of thinking would mean giving the drug to patients while in the ambulance so that they're getting treatment sooner.

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