New drug in preclinical studies indicates a potential therapy for stroke patients

A new study from Case Western Reserve University and University of Cincinnati shows promise that a new drug may help repair damage caused by strokes. 

Currently, there are no U.S. Federal Drug Administration-approved drugs to repair the damage caused by a stroke.

But a new preclinical study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Cincinnati (in the journal Cell Reports) found a drug called NVG-291-R allows nervous system repair and significant functional recovery in an animal model of severe ischemic stroke. 

Jerry Silver

Jerry Silver, co-author of the study and professor of neurosciences at CWRU’s School of Medicine, said the study showed the drug repaired damage through at least two avenues: creating new neuronal connections and enhancing migration of newly born neurons derived from neuronal stem cells to the site of the damage. 

“NVG-291-R’s ability to enhance plasticity was demonstrated by using staining techniques that clearly showed an increase in axonal sprouting to the damaged part of the brain,” Silver said. “This enhanced plasticity is an excellent validation of the same powerful mechanisms that we and other researchers were able to demonstrate using NVG-291-R in spinal cord injury.”  

Additional studies will be needed to research if NVG-291-R effectively repairs damage caused by hemorrhagic strokes in both animal models and human patients.

NervGen Pharma Corp. holds the exclusive worldwide rights to NVG-291, and the drug is being tested in a clinical trial in healthy human subjects. NervGen plans to initiate patient safety and efficacy trials in spinal cord injury, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis in 2022 and 2023.

Agnes (Yu) Luo, associate professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry in UC’s College of Medicine, was the study’s senior author.