Scientists offer new drug target for stroke damage

A team of scientists drawn from the University of Central Florida and Louisiana State University has identified the mechanics at work during a stroke that causes cell death and spurs severe brain damage. And a new therapy that can interfere with that process could guard against the cell death that causes the damage.

Their insights revolve around an enzyme, DAPK-1, that binds to the NMDA receptor, which is usually working to prevent a fatal overload of calcium. The enzyme allows the calcium to flow in, killing cells and causing the damage.

"It is conceivable that this study not only provides new insights into the cellular and molecular basis responsible for stroke damage, but also provides a therapeutic target for stroke therapy," says Youming Lu, the LSU professor who led the team. And a colleague notes that the breakthrough could have significant implications for other areas of new drug development for neurodegenerative diseases.

- here's the story from UCF