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Snake venom to aid stroke victims

22nd February 2006

The venom from a snake may save lives rather than end them – at least for stroke victims – according to the creators of a new drug.

Paul Freiman, CEO of Neurobiological Technologies, said at the International Stroke Conference in Florida that Viprinex can break up blood clots hours after a stroke.

Presenting research on the venom-based drug, he explained that Viprinex thins the blood and increasing circulation to break up clots. He added that this will help prevent injury to the brain by destroying the damaging clots.

Viprinex would not be the first drug based on snake venom to thin blood, with both Aggrastat and Ancrod developed from vipers.

At present there is only one drug in the US that thins the blood after a stroke, but Mr Friedman claimed that TPA is only effective three hours after an attack, whereas Viprinex can work up to six hours later.

The drug is currently undergoing trial on humans across 22 sites in the USA and is in the final stages of testing.

If the trials are successful, Mr Freiman said that he will seek approval form the US Food and Drug Administration in 2008.