Martin Toul

Researchers At MUNI Make Significant Breakthrough In Treatment of Strokes

Martin Toul, from the Loschmidt Laboratories at the Masaryk University Faculty of Medical Sciences, has discovered a connection that could help find new and more effective drugs for patients suffering from acute stroke. Photo: Martin Toul. Credit: FN USA.

Brno, Feb 26 (BD) – Martin Toul from the Loschmidt Laboratories of the MUNI Faculty of Medical Sciences, RECETOX and the St. Anne’s University Hospital International Clinical Research Centre (FNUSA-ICRC) has discovered a connection that increases the previously recognized effectiveness of staphylokinase in dissolving blood clots by up to 10,000 times. This breakthrough discovery could help to find new and more effective drugs for acute stroke patients.

A protein produced by staphylococcus bacteria, staphylokinase, has been considered as a suitable candidate. Staphylococcus is found on the skin or mucous membranes of every person. However, staphylokinase did not appear to be a promising candidate for the treatment of stroke due to its low efficacy. But this could now change with Toul’s work, which has shown that the efficacy reported so far is actually up to 10,000 times higher than thought. “We are working on research and development of substances effective in stroke within the Stroke Brno project and our research has been supported by the Ministry of Education with a four-year INBIO grant of CZK 100 million,” said Toul.

The link that could change the perception of staphylokinase in treatment was revealed unexpectedly. “We were testing proteins similar to staphylokinase, and we needed to get baseline data to use as a basis for comparison. We didn’t just want to rely on data reported in the literature; we wanted to verify previous observations in the lab. We went more into depth and found that the staphylokinase activity was actually quite different,” said Toul.

Future research will aim to find proteins with improved binding properties so that the overall efficiency is as high as possible. “Using protein engineering methods, we plan to design thousands of variants, process them in our Loschmidt laboratories and send the most suitable candidates to our colleagues at the Institute of Biophysics of the Czech Academy of Science, with whom we also collaborate within the Stroke Brno platform,” said Toul.

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