The most common type of stroke is ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot obstructing a blood vessel.
In the United States, more than 795,000 peoplehave a stroke per year, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Stroke is also responsible for 1 in 20 deaths every year.
Treatment for acute ischemic stroke is done by administering tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which is the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of stroke. This drug type acts by dissolving obstructive blood clots, in order to allow blood to flow normally again.
However, tPA has a number of shortcomings, including the fact that it has to be administered within a fairly short window of time — 4.5 hours from the event — and that it is sometimes accompanied by serious complications, such as intracranial hemorrhage.