Scientists claim they have created a synthetic peptide which could play a key role in developing treatments for people who have had a stroke.
Researchers from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit believe their synthetic version of a naturally occurring peptide promoted the creation of new blood vessels, as well as the repair of damaged ones.
Adult rats who had suffered a stroke were given doses of Thymosin beta four every three days for eight weeks, with their brains showing significant signs of improvement compared to the control group.
The conclusion drawn was that the synthetic peptide also increased the production of the body's own natural nerve cell defence, myelin.
Study lead author Daniel Morris MD, said "This successful experiment holds promise for treating clot-induced strokes in humans.
"Neurorestorative therapy is the next frontier in the treatment of stroke."
According to the Stroke Association, around 150,000 people have a stroke each year in the UK.
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