Could a skin cancer drug help treat stroke?

April 18, 2018

Dr. Hsiao-Huei Chen and her team discovered that a drug used to treat skin cancer reduced brain damage after stroke in animal models. While a lack of blood flow that supplies oxygen and nutrients is the first thing to kill brain cells after a stroke, collateral damage from immune cells trying to clean up the mess (inflammation) can be just as bad. One molecule involved in cell death and inflammation is RIPK. A drug currently used to treat skin cancer called Dabrafenib blocks the action of RIPK3. Dr. Chen’s team found that giving mice Dabrafenib one hour after a stroke significantly reduced the size of the damaged area of the brain. The team’s molecular test results suggest that Dabrafenib is working to reduce inflammation after the stroke. Future animal studies will test whether this drug can lead to better recovery. See Neural Regeneration Research for details.

Authors: Shelly A Cruz, Zhaohong Qin, Alexandre F. R. Stewart, Hsiao-Huei Chen

Funding: This research was possible because of generous donations to The Ottawa Hospital for Tender Loving Research. The researchers have also received support from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Dr. Chen is supported by a Mid-Career Investigator Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario

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Disease and research area tags: Stroke