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Curry Drug Could Help Rebuild Brain Cells After Stroke

A drug derived from the popular curry spice turmeric could help aid the recovery of stroke patients, U.S. researchers found.

Scientists from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center announced Wednesday that they created a new molecule from curcumin -- a chemical component of turmeric -- and found in laboratory experiments that it affects mechanisms that protect and help regenerate brain cells after a stroke.

The new drug, called CNB-001, does not attack clots but instead repairs stroke damage at the molecular level that supports pathways that feed brain cells, said research scientist Dr. Paul Lapchak, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

"CNB-001 has many of the same benefits of curcumin but appears to be a better choice of compound for acute stroke because it crosses the blood-brain barrier, is quickly distributed in the brain and moderates several critical mechanisms involved in neuronal survival," Lapchak said at the American Heart Association International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.

The researchers hope that the drug could be trialed on humans soon. Currently, there is only one approved drug treatment for ischemic stroke, which is caused when a clot blocks blood flow to the brain.