Researchers have announced a new drug that mimics thymosin and may help repair the damage suffered by the brain in the event of stroke and assist in the improvement of neurological functions, says a study.

A research team from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit reported that Thymosin beta 4 (TB4), when administered to rats that have been through embolic strokes, showed marked improvements in their neurological functions.

The research was conducted by Dr. Daniel Morris and his colleagues at the Department of Emergency Medicine, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. The results of the study have since been published in scientific journal Neuroscience.

An analysis of thymosin treated rats during various time intervals over a seven-week period found their neurological functions after the induced strokes improved remarkably. The study was sponsored by drug maker RegeneRx.

The thymosin treated rats showed a significant increase in re-myelination of axons. Their blood vessel density in the ischemic boundary also increased due to mobilization of brain stem cells which differentiate into cells that protect nerve fibers.

The epidermal growth factor, a key protein that helps in tissue regeneration after brain injury, was also detected to be at levels that were 50 percent higher than in the group of rodents which received a placebo as part of the study.

"In this experiment, after an ischemic stroke, neurological function in the rat models appeared to have significantly improved, apparently by re-myelination of neurological axons (nerve fibers that conduct electrical signals) induced by TB4,’’ says Dr. Hynda Kleinman, former head of cell biology at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

The fact that TB4 helps repair and regenerate tissue after a brain injury strongly correlates with other published data showing TB4's ability to regenerate neuronal and cardiac tissue after ischemic events, says Dr. Kleinman.

TB4, a synthetic version of a naturally occurring peptide present in almost all human cells, has been developed by RegeneRx. Preclinical studies have indicated that TB4 promotes endothelial cell differentiation and migration in the heart and central nervous system.