Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UBC discovery is gateway to new stroke treatments

13.09.2004


There may be new treatments for stroke, migraine, Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders, thanks to the discovery of a mechanism for regulating brain blood flow made by researchers at the University of British Columbia.

Scientists found that astrocytes -- cells that surround nerve cells and all blood vessels in the brain -- have a primary role in regulating blood flow within the brain, and hold promise as a target for new therapies. The findings of the two-year study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Stroke Network were published this week in Nature by UBC post-doctoral fellow Sean Mulligan and Brian MacVicar, a professor in the Brain Research Centre and the Dept. of Psychiatry at UBC and an investigator with the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI).

Using a new technique that they developed to study brain blood flow, Mulligan and MacVicar found that a rise of calcium within the astrocytes instructs the blood vessels to constrict, which alters blood flow.



Brain blood flow supplies energy for brain activities. Vessel contraction and dilation is a normal part of brain functioning, however, improperly regulated flow can result in brain disorder or damage. Calcium flow in the brain is not influenced by diet. “This is an exciting find because it gives us a new site to investigate,” says MacVicar, Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience. “This discovery highlights the complex communication between astrocytes and blood vessels, and research can now be focused on understanding and controlling these communication pathways.”

The discovery that astrocytes cause constriction upsets earlier theories that astrocytes might cause vessels to dilate, he adds. “This discovery will serve as a gateway to new treatments and is of fundamental importance in understanding how the brain regulates blood flow,” says Dr. Bruce McManus, Scientific Director of the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). “This powerful research gives us new targets against which to develop a new generation of drugs to minimize stroke damage to the brain,” adds Dr. Antoine Hakim, CEO and Scientific Director of the Canadian Stroke Network. Next steps in the research include determining how to block the calcium in astrocytes to reduce damage caused by inadequate brain blood flow. MacVicar estimates treatments may be available in five to 10 years.

Every year, 50,000 Canadians suffer a stroke, or "brain attack." Another 300,000 people are living with the consequences of stroke, which is the leading cause of adult disability in Canada.

The Brain Research Centre, located at UBC Hospital, comprises more than 150 investigators with multidisciplinary expertise in neuroscience research ranging from the test tube, to the bedside, to industrial spin-offs. VCHRI is a joint venture between UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health that promotes development of new researchers and research activity.

CIHR is Canada’s premier agency for health research. Its objective is to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened health care system.

The Canadian Stroke Network includes more than 100 of Canada’s leading scientists and clinicians from 24 universities who work collaboratively on various aspects of stroke. The Network, which is headquartered at the University of Ottawa, also includes partners from industry, the non-profit sector, provincial and federal governments Canada Research Chairs are federally funded research positions that are the centerpiece of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top five countries for research and development.

Hilary Thomson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ubc.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond
21.11.2017 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht The main switch
21.11.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>