A Newcastle trial of a revolutionary clot busting drug that is successfully treating stroke victims, is about to be expanded nationally and internationally.
The initial Hunter Medical Research Institute study with the drug Alteplase was found to be effective for 36 per cent of stroke patients who recovered quickly and were able return to normal activity within days.
Newcastle researchers had much more success with another clot-busting drug, Tenecteplase, commonly used for heart attacks.
Lead researcher Neurologist Mark Parsons says for stroke patients the future looks promising.
"Using Tenecteplase we've seen two thirds of patients severely affected by stroke returned to normal function within two or three days, but we now need a much larger study to see if the drug benefits patients in the real world," he said.
Professor Parsons says from today the network will be expanded to 20 acute stroke centres around Australia and 50 worldwide with new funding from the National Heart Foundation of Australia.
Fellow Neurologist Professor Chris Levi says their colleagues in Melbourne are also playing a major role.
"We are leading Newcastle, but our friends and our colleagues in Melbourne are key partners as are other centres across the country but the internationals are right on board because they see the promise in this drug," he said.
The trial will only be for people who present to hospital after a stroke and not patients currently undergoing medical treatment.