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Study Examines Blood Biomarkers Upon Erythropoietin Treatment of Ischemic Stroke

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Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine in Goettingen, Germany, led by Prof. Hannelore Ehrenreich, the University of Bremen and University of Hannover, in collaboration with Dr. Andreas Jeromin at Banyan Biomarkers, Inc, in Alachua, FL, have identified a panel of protein-based blood biomarkers in patients treated with erythropoietin (EPO), which correlate with positive outcome in this study.

Brain-injury biomarkers ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1), glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP) and S100B were examined in stroke patients receiving EPO as part of the German Multicenter EPO Stroke Trial. In this study, EPO in ischemic stroke patients improved neurological outcome and UCHL1 alone differentiates between placebo and EPO treated patients and correlates with clinical outcome. These findings of “circulating brain damage biomarkers to support a neuroprotective effect” are now in press in Molecular Medicine (link to study below).

According to the American Heart Association, Stroke (about 85% of all strokes being ischemic) is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Over 143,579 people die each year from stroke in the United States. Stroke is also the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States.

The inclusion of these biomarkers in drug discovery efforts and clinical trials in stroke may offer the opportunity to stratify patients and also provide an additional outcome measure, i.e. the quantitative assessment of therapeutic efficacy in blood.

Justin Zivin, MD, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of California in San Diego and the San Diego VA Healthcare System, stated:

The identification of these biomarkers may provide an important advancement in developing neuroprotective drug treatments in stroke and monitor their efficacy in patients.

The Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine is supported by the Max Planck Society.

Study: Circulating damage marker profiles support a neuroprotective effect of erythropoietin in ischemic stroke patients