Promising New Medicines in Development for Heart Disease & Stroke

Advances Needed as Prevalence of Stroke Predicted to Increase

06.24.13 | By Stephanie Fischer

In a previous post, I shared my personal experience with stroke and encouraged readers to know the warning signs and symptoms of stroke.  A new report by PhRMA on Medicines in Development for Heart Disease and Stroke provides cause for optimism. Given the enormous toll of strokes, both on a personal level and also for the national economy, effective new treatments are desperately needed.

Strokes’ Serious Toll

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every four minutes, someone dies of stroke; 1 in 19 deaths nationwide is due to stroke.

The effects of stroke can vary depending on the extent of brain damage and where in the brain it occurs.  After a few weeks of physical therapy and several months of speech therapy, I have no noticeable residual effects from my stroke.  Others are not so fortunate.  According to CDC, strokes reduce the mobility of more than half of survivors age 65 and older, and are a key cause of disability in the U.S.

In addition to the burdens they impose on survivors and caretakers, strokes cost the U.S. economy more than $70 billion annually.  These costs are expected to double by 2030 as the prevalence of stroke is predicted to increase significantly, according to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

BRAIN Initiative

In April, President Obama announced the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative to be led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Learning more about the brain may help develop new ways to predict (in order to prevent), diagnosis and treat stroke. 

An earlier Catalyst post explained the important role biopharmaceutical companies play in the nation’s efforts to advance scientific understanding of the complex diseases facing patients, including neurological and cardiovascular conditions. 

Medicines in Development for Heart Disease and Stroke

The updated report highlights 215 Medicines in Development for Heart Disease and Stroke, including 19 specifically for stroke, which are in clinical trials or pending review by the Food and Drug Administration.  Some of these innovative medicines utilize cutting-edge scientific advances such as a genetically-engineered medicine that dissolves clots to treat stroke and a gene therapy that uses patients’ own cells to treat heart failure.

This promising pipeline of potential new therapies offers hope to current and future patients.


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