Quest for Quality in Translational Stroke Research––A New Dawn for Neuroprotection?

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Haupt M., Gerner S. T., Bähr M., Doeppner T. R.

International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol.23, no.10, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/ijms23105381
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: cerebral ischemia, neuroprotection, neurodegeneration, stroke
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: No


Despite tremendous progress in modern‐day stroke therapy, ischemic stroke remains a disease associated with a high socioeconomic burden in industrialized countries. In light of demo-graphic change, these health care costs are expected to increase even further. The current causal therapeutic treatment paradigms focus on successful thrombolysis or thrombectomy, but only a fraction of patients qualify for these recanalization therapies because of therapeutic time window restrictions or contraindications. Hence, adjuvant therapeutic concepts such as neuroprotection are urgently needed. A bench‐to‐bedside transfer of neuroprotective approaches under stroke condi-tions, however, has not been established after more than twenty years of research, albeit a great many data have demonstrated several neuroprotective drugs to be effective in preclinical stroke settings. Prominent examples of substances supported by extensive preclinical evidence but which failed clinical trials are tirilazad and disodium 2,4‐sulphophenyl‐N‐tert‐butylnitrone (NXY‐059). The NXY‐059 trial, for instance, was retrospectively shown to have a seriously weak study design, a trial of insufficient quality and a poor statistical analysis, although it initially met the recommendations of the STAIR committee. In light of currently ongoing novel neuroprotective stroke trials, such as ESCAPE‐NA, and to avoid the mistakes made in the past, an improvement in study quality in the field of stroke neuroprotection is urgently needed. In the present review, animal models closely reflecting the “typical” stroke patient, occlusion techniques and the appropriate choice of time windows are discussed. In this context, the STAIR recommendations could provide a useful orientation. Taking all of this into account, a new dawn for neuroprotection might be possible.