Algernon Pharmaceuticals, a Canadian company, plans to conduct a clinical trial to study how DMT, a psychedelic drug, can be used to trigger faster recovery in people who have had a stroke.
The company says that study participants will receive a “microdose,” or an amount too small to trigger the hallucinogenic effects of the drug. While this small dose is too small for subjects to “trip,” it is hoped that the small dose will be sufficient to boost the recovery of neural activity and connections within the brain, thereby reducing how much damage the brain could suffer during and after a stroke.
Researchers hope that if their study is successful, it will be possible to initiative effective treatment while a patient is still in the ambulance rather than waiting for several hours while a CT scan is done to ascertain what treatment approach is needed.
The hope of the team isn’t altogether unfounded. In an animal model of the study, the flow of blood was blocked in half of the brain of some rats. When some of those rats were given DMT, they had fewer lesions in their brains and they were able to grow new brain cells at a faster rate than those that didn’t receive the psychedelic. Additionally, the rats that received DMT were observed to recover motor function a lot faster and better than those that didn’t receive the medicine. The team hopes that the same results can be replicated in humans.
One major challenge makes stroke treatment difficult. Strokes are primarily of two types: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes occur when a blood clot blocks a vessel leading to a certain part of the brain, and this is best treated by administering a blood thinner.
On the other hand, blood thinners could be fatal in a patient who has had a hemorrhagic stroke, since they would be bleeding from a burst blood vessel. Blood thinners would worsen the bleeding, thereby putting the life of the patient in grave danger.
To determine which course of treatment to take, a CT scan has to be done to establish the type of stroke. Waiting for the results of such a test can take hours, creating a bigger window for brain damage to occur.
The Vancouver team hopes that if its smaller trial brings positive outcomes, they will be able to apply for breakthrough therapy classification from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Such a classification means that the regulator will work with the company to complete the regulatory process before the remedy can be approved for clinical use.
Stroke victims have had few options for decades, and the prospects of this potential psychedelic treatment could revolutionize treatment options.
Still in Canada, XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) has entered an agreement to produce psilocybin on a large scale for the development of psychedelic medicines.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/XPHYF
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