December 18, 2008 Desmoteplase trial disappoints despite novel use of imaging Coverage based on a press release from Lancet Neurology Despite encouraging earlier results, the much-awaited follow-up phase III DIAS-2 trial did not show any improvement in clinical response at 90 days for ischemic stroke patients who were given either of two doses of desmoteplase up to nine hours after the onset of symptoms of stroke compared with those who were given placebo. The clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), the only recommended treatment for acute ischemic stroke, is approved for use within three hours of the onset of symptoms. In previous investigational trials (DIAS-1 and DEDAS2), a new drug, desmoteplase, which is derived from vampire bat saliva, was shown to have a highly specific action and to be safe and effective over a longer treatment window than tPA. Efficacy in these trials was measured as the amount of reperfusion -- restoration of blood flow -- and the clinical outcome at three months for patients who were judged most likely to benefit from treatment.
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