Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., has announced the initial findings of stroke research conducted by its Biomarker Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry (BRIMS) Center in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard University. Strokes are the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the U.S.
The research, conducted using Thermo Scientific mass spectrometers, provides insight into key areas of stroke evaluation and treatment. The research will be previewed at the MSACL conference in San Diego in February, 2011.
Led by Dr. MingMing Ning, a clinical neurologist and researcher at the Clinical Proteomics Research Center at MGH, the research provides potentially significant new insight into patent foramen ovale (PFO) and its connection with strokes. PFO refers to a congenital heart abnormality which leaves open a passage between the left and right sides of the heart, enabling blood clots to travel from the leg to the brain.
With PFO affecting 25 percent of the worldwide population, the potential health impacts are significant. Identification of potential biomarkers in mass spec data derived from the collaborative research provides scientists with new insights into how PFO can be related to strokes. If confirmed, these insights may be important in helping doctors to select the most appropriate treatment for individual PFO stroke patients.
The collaboration between the BRIMS Center and Harvard University has also led to potential insights in the understanding of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) in stroke treatment. tPA is a drug that can be safely administered only within a very short time window after stroke symptoms occur. The treatment, which works by dissolving blood clots, has proven highly effective but involves significant risks.
Only 5 percent of patients fit the timeframe criteria within which it is safe to administer tPA. Through the use of mass spectrometry-based proteomics workflows, data from the collaborative research may someday help scientists identify a wider scope of patients who might benefit from tPA.
Dr Ning comments: ”We are now able to conduct research directly at the bedside of acute stroke patients, thanks to the collaboration between Dr. Mary Lopez and her team at the BRIMS Center; Dr. Tom Jacobs at NIH/NINDS; and Dr. Eng H Lo, Dr. Ferdinando Buonanno and Dr. Anne Young at the Clinical Proteomics Research Center at MGH. This was not possible before and has allowed us to build a crucial bridge from research to treatment, enabling us to gather key research information in real-time.”