Scientists To Work On Stroke Vaccine
Researchers at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet have been conducting studies on stroke for many years. Among their findings are studies indicating that stroke victims lack a certain antibody, anti-PC, in their immune systems that normally reduces the risk of arteriosclerosis, a thickening of arterial walls that can lead to stroke. Their most recent study provides the impetus to move ahead with the development of a preventative vaccine.
The study compared 227 persons who had suffered a stroke during a 13-year period with a control group of 445 sex and age-matched volunteers. Also controlled were other risk factors such as smoking habits, cholesterol levels, diabetes, body mass index, and blood pressure. The researchers showed that the stroke group had levels of PC antibodies 30 percent below the average of the control group. In women who had strokes the level of PC antbodies was almost three times lower than that of the control group.
PC antibodies go to work on phosphorycholine (PC), a class of fat molecules that make up the plague that form on the inside walls of arteries in arteriosclerosis. So the Karolinska group sees an avenue to prevention of arteriosclerosis and its consequences, including stroke, through the immune system.
"We're now examining the possibility of developing new immunological treatments for arteriosclerosis and stroke, either in the form of a vaccine to stimulate the immune defence, or immunisation through the injection of antibodies," said Professor Johan Frostegård, the study's lead researcher.
(The complete study is published in the February 11, 2010 issue of Stroke.)