Intra-cerebral haemorrhage is one of the most serious forms of stroke, affecting 2-3 million people worldwide each year. Most of these live in China and surrounding Asian countries, and about one third will die a few days after onset. Of those that survive, the majority will face major long-term disabilities.
The George Institute's Professor Craig Anderson, who is the Principal Investigator in the trial, explained that "Chinese people appear to be at particularly high risk of intra-cerebral haemorrhage. This is partly due to the high prevalence of high blood pressure in the population and possibly to genetic factors.
"Despite the magnitude of the burden imposed by this disease, and the high cost to health services, there is no widely available treatment for the condition. However, early rapid blood pressure lowering shows considerable promise as a widely applicable, cost-effective therapy that can be readily incorporated into clinical practice," noted Prof Anderson. Although surgery is sometimes used in patients with severe intra-cerebral haemorrhage to relieve pressure on the brain, a recently published large-scale clinical trial has cast doubt over which patients most benefit from surgery.
In another approach to treatment, early administration of a laboratory-developed clotting factor, called activated recombinant human Factor VII (NovoSeven), has been shown to limit expansion of bleeding in the brain and improve recovery in an international clinical trial that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine early this year. However, future use of this agent in clinical practice will be
Contact: Paul Davies