Thrombosis is the formation of a thrombus (blood clot) inside a blood vessel. It is the pathology responsible for triggering ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction (MI, or heart attack) - leading causes of death worldwide since 2003. Thrombolysis, the medical term for clot dissolution or “clot-busting,” is the body’s biological defense against stroke and MI. See the illustration that demonstrates how TSI’s treatment regimen uses a sequential, dual approach to achieve thrombolysis, and read why better approaches to thrombolysis are needed.
Effective stroke treatment could help to prevent a range of disabilities that may include paralysis or movement disorders; sensory disturbances including pain; problems using or understanding language; impaired thinking and memory; and emotional disturbances. Additionally, according to the National Stroke Association, more than one-third of stroke survivors suffer from depression. Similarly, the American Heart Association reports that depression, fear, and anger are common among MI survivors.
Just as combination therapy has become the standard of care in the treatment of many diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, hypertension and other forms of cardiovascular disease, scientific research suggests this may be a rational approach to safe and effective thrombolysis.
Stroke is the cause of more than six million deaths globally, claiming a life every 10 seconds, and killing more people each year than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. In the U.S., someone dies of a stroke every four minutes. In addition, stroke is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people above the age of 60 and the fifth leading cause of death in people aged 15-59.
The vast majority (roughly 87%) of stroke cases are ischemic strokes, which are caused by an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. The obstruction results from atherosclerosis, the formation of fatty deposits lining the vessel walls. The fatty deposits can cause two types of obstruction:
Cerebral thrombosis: Development of a thrombus at the clogged section of the blood vessel.
Cerebral embolism: Development of a thrombus at another location in the circulatory system, usually the heart and large arteries of the upper chest and neck. A portion of the thrombus breaks loose, enters the bloodstream and travels through the blood vessels of the brain until it reaches vessels too small to let it pass.
Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
Myocardial infarction (MI) occurs when the blood flow that delivers oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. As with stroke, atherosclerosis causes this obstruction of blood flow. When an atherosclerotic plaque in a coronary artery breaks apart, a blood clot forms around the plaque and blocks the blood flow through the heart muscle. Such a blockage can cause ischemia, the deprivation of oxygen and nutrients required for the heart muscle, possibly leading to MI, which is damage or death of part of the heart muscle as a result of ischemia.
Globally, there are an estimated 8.56 million cases of acute MI annually. MI is responsible for roughly 114,000 deaths in the U.S. Approximately every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. will have a heart attack.