Can adjunctive therapies augment the efficacy of endovascular thrombolysis? A potential role for activated protein C

Neuropharmacology. 2018 May 15;134(Pt B):293-301. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.09.021. Epub 2017 Sep 18.


In the management of acute ischemic stroke, vessel recanalization correlates with functional status, mortality, cost, and other outcome measures. Thrombolysis with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator has many limitations that restrict its applicability, but recent advances in the development of mechanical thrombectomy devices as well as improved systems of stroke care have resulted in greater likelihood of vessel revascularization. Nonetheless, there remains substantial discrepancy between rates of recanalization and rates of favorable outcome. The poor neurological recovery among some stroke patients despite successful recanalization confirms the need for adjuvant pharmacological therapy for neuroprotection and/or neurorestoration. Prior clinical trials of such drugs may have failed due to the inability of the agent to access the ischemic tissue beyond the occluded artery. A protocol that couples revascularization with concurrent delivery of a neuroprotectant drug offers the potential to enhance the benefit of thrombolysis. Analogs of activated protein C (APC) exert pleiotropic anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, antithrombotic, cytoprotective, and neuroregenerative effects in ischemic stroke and thus appear to be promising candidates for this novel approach. A multicenter, prospective, double-blinded, dose-escalation Phase 2 randomized clinical trial has enrolled 110 patients to assess the safety, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy of human recombinant 3K3A-APC following endovascular thrombolysis. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'Cerebral Ischemia'.

Keywords: Activated protein C (APC); Endovascular restorative neurosurgery; Mechanical neurothrombectomy; Neuroprotection; Neurorestoration; Stroke; Thrombolysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Protein C / metabolism*
  • Stroke / therapy*
  • Thrombectomy / methods*
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Protein C
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator