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Lawrence Wechsler, M.D.

Lawrence Wechsler, M.D.
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Prourokinase Found Effective for All Stroke Patients, National Study Finds

PITTSBURGH, February 14, 2001 — The clot-busting drug Prourokinase was effective for all patients in the PROACT II trial, regardless of their level of risk, according to a study being presented by University of Pittsburgh researchers at the American Heart Association's 26th International Stroke Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., February 14. PROACT II was a multi-center study that evaluated the effectiveness of intra-arterial Prourokinase in patients with ischemic stroke.

"Our objective in this arm of the study was to identify predictive factors for outcome in this patient population and to assess whether patients with different risk profiles responded differently to Prourokinase," said Lawrence Wechsler, M.D., professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Stroke Institute and principal investigator of this arm of the study.

In the study, a total of 35 variables were evaluated, including CT findings, severity of stroke deficits and age of the patient at the time of the stroke.

"Despite the stratification of patients based on these and other variables, there was no evidence of a difference in treatment effect across risk categories," Dr. Wechsler said. "All PROACT-eligible patients stand to benefit from early intra-arterial Prourokinase treatment."

An ischemic stroke is caused by an artery blockage in the brain. If Prourokinase can be administered by a catheter directly to the site of the clot in the brain within six hours from the onset of symptoms, it may dissolve the clot and restore blood flow to the brain.

The PROACT II study was a multi-center randomized controlled trial that included 180 patients at 54 medical centers in the United States and Canada. In the study's primary findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1999, 40 percent of patients treated with Prourokinase and 25 percent of control patients had a good neurological recovery 90 days after the stroke.

Stroke is the third most common cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. Some 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year; 70 percent of these are ischemic strokes in which a clot blocks oxygen delivery to a portion of the brain. On average, someone in the United States suffers a stroke every 53 seconds. Annually, 160,000 Americans die from stroke.

Stroke should be treated as a medical emergency. Symptoms include weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, numbness or loss of sensation on one side of the body, difficulty with speech or inability to speak, sudden onset of loss of balance or dizziness and sudden loss of vision in one eye.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Stroke Institute is dedicated to the treatment, prevention and research of stroke and stroke-related conditions. UPMC physicians in a wide variety of specialties join together to provide the very latest techniques for diagnosis and treatment. This multi-disciplinary approach allows them to treat stroke patients and patients who suffer from diseases that can lead to stroke, such as heart disease and diabetes.

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