A compound is being studied by international healthcare experts at the University of Missouri (MU) and the University of Notre Dame that could potentially prevent people who have suffered from a stroke from sustaining brain damage, as well as reduce the amount of harm the incident causes.
The research, which is outlined in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration, involves the analysis of a thiirane class of gelatinase selective inhibitors and how these function on a matrix metalloproteinase enzyme (MMP), especially a substance known as MMP-9, which is known to play a role in a number of important pathological events that occur following traumatic brain injuries or similar events.
MU School of Medicine assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences and corresponding author of the article Zezong Gu said the inhibitors might be combined with a tissue plasminogen activator to give people who have suffered a stroke a "longer window of time to receive emergency treatment".
He pointed out that "time is a matter of life and death" for people who have had a stroke, echoing the advice of the UK's National Health Service, which says "immediate medical attention" is needed when a person begins showing signs of this condition.
"MMPs play a role in the structure of blood vessels in the brain and are also needed in the interactions between cells during development and tissue remodelling," the researcher declared.
Mr Gu stated that without regulation, these enzymes can contribute to stroke.
He suggested that the gelatinase selective inhibitor could protect the blood vessels from MMP-9's damaging effects, while preventing damage to neurons.
In 2005, the scientist had previously played the role of lead author on a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience that had revealed MMP-9 could be a promising area that therapeutic medicines for stroke patients could target.
"We are still in the research phase for this type of compound," Mr Gu declared.