The International Stroke Conference is one of the most important conventions in the area of stroke, with yearly meetings in the US. More than 4000 people attended the 2018 session, including 25% of them from non-US institutions.
One of the hot topics at this session was the presentation of the results of the DEFUSE-3 clinical study. Until then, the state-of-the-art was that the clinical benefit of thrombolysis, which is the only effective medical treatment for the ischemic form of stroke (consecutive to the clotting of an intracerebral blood vessel), was limited beyond 3 to 4.5 hours from symptom onset. The DEFUSE-3 study is based on the progress of the brain imaging technology, combined with the one of the interventional thrombectomy, which allows the mechanical removal of the blood clot through a catheter. Both have been the most promising evolutions over these last years in the area of stroke. The patients who were included in this study had an ischemic stroke with symptom onset between 6 and 16 hours prior to the interventional procedure. However, imaging with MRI or CT-scan in these patients could identify a brain area that was affected by the arterial occlusion but still preventable from irreversible damage. The results of this study, which were presented at the ISC 2018, showed a 50% decrease in the disabling scores in this population of stroke patients who previously had no therapeutic option to favour survival with an acceptable level of disability.
These results were applauded, as they provide a strong hope with new therapeutic options for stroke patients. They show how persistence and synergistic combination of new technologies can offer better chance of healthy survival to ischemic stroke patients. This is in the spirit of what we are doing at Op2Lysis for hemorrhagic stroke patients. During IS, we had the opportunity to meet with many attending experts, including people in charge of the MISTIE study with alteplase in patients with an intracerebral hemorrhage. Collaborative work with these teams in the near futur will help us to maximize our chances of success.