Buffalo Site is First in U.S. Approved for Trial of New Stroke Drug

By Lois Baker

Release Date: February 23, 2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo's Department of Neurology/Jacobs Neurological Institute is the first site in the U.S. approved to enroll patients in a clinical trial of the drug desmosteplase, a new treatment for acute ischemic stroke.

The trial will be conducted in the Kaleida Health Stroke Care Center in Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital in Buffalo.

Marilou Ching, MD, MPH, UB assistant professor of neurology and program director of the Vascular Neurology Fellowship Program and the Kaleida Health Stroke Unit, is principal investigator at the Buffalo site. Overall, the study will enroll 400 patients worldwide.

"Each site is expected to enroll five patients per site," says Ching, "but we are hoping to enroll 10, because our stroke center at Gates Circle sees about 1,600 strokes per year, which makes us the busiest stroke center in the Northeast."

This trial is particularly interesting because the drug is based on a genetically engineered protein found in vampire bat saliva. Its developers, in Europe, say it has the potential to open blood vessels, restore blood flow and minimize damage to the brain.

One of the major benefits of the drug is its ability to be administered up to nine hours after the onset of stroke symptoms. Currently, the only FDA-approved medication to treat acute strokes must be administered within three hours of the onset of symptoms.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Kaleida Health is the largest health care provider in Western New York, serving the area's eight counties with state-of-the-art technology and comprehensive health care services by expert, compassionate health care professionals to bring patients the best care.