Global Summit on Stroke
Lund University, Sweden
Title: Cerebral Vascular Signal Transduction: A Novel Strategy to Treat Stroke
Biography: Saema Ansar
Stroke accounts for 1.1 million deaths and is the foremost cause of disability in EU. It is an enormous economic, clinical and social burden; so far therapeutic options are limited. It is clear that new strategies are needed given the disappointing lack of success of the enormous research effort focused on potential neuroprotective agents. Unfortunately, all neuroprotective agents have failed to show any beneficial activity in patients with stroke. Stroke is first and foremost a vascular disease, and our unique focus is on stroke-related responses of the vascular wall. This represents a paradigm shift in approach, which is generating promising results. We recently discovered that inhibition of the MEK signaling pathway in the cerebral vasculature improves acute outcome in all types of experimental stroke. These exciting initial findings are propelling our current research program. To successfully develop our novel treatment strategy, we need to more fully understand the consequences of MEK inhibition on stroke outcome. Whether the benefits of early treatment with MEK1/2 inhibitors persist beyond the subacute phase and not negatively interfere with later recovery processes is not known. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the post-stroke consequences of MEK inhibition over extended time periods. Acute treatment with a specific MEK1/2 inhibitor U0126 significantly improved long-term functional recovery, reduced infarct size and promotes neurovascular protection and angiogenesis. These results provide new insights of using this treatment and are therefore a promising strategy for stroke.