Dalfampridine Improves Sensorimotor Function in Rats With ChronicDeficits After Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion. Stroke. 2013
Shruti Sonni, MD
In this study funded by two biotechnology companies, Laci et al. studied the effects of dalfampridine on persistent sensorimotor deficits after stroke. Dalfampridine, commonly marketed under the trade name ‘Ampyra’, is a potassium channel blocker that has been used extensively in demyelinating neurological condition such as spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis. In ischemic stroke, it is thought to enhance function in areas of myelin damage or by enabling activation of undamaged pathways.
Rats underwent proximal MCA occlusions, and were administered Dalfampridine at 4 or 8 weeks after the ictus. Dalfampridine improved fore and hindlimb placing to stimuli, indicating recovery in sensorimotor systems and body swing symmetry indicating recovery in striatal function, both of which are affected by hemispheral infarcts.
A subsequent proof-of-concept study was conducted in 83 human post-stroke patients by Acorda Therapeutics Inc., and preliminary results appear promising in improving walking. The next step is a clinic development program, to be discussed with the FDA. This is an exciting new pharmacological opportunity in this largely affected population.