X-Message-Number: 27653
From: "Basie" <>
Subject: Xenon was effective as a neuroprotectant
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 18:40:19 -0500

New Study Shows Xenon Gas Safe In Surgery And Could Help Stop Nerve Damaging 
Scientists have successfully conducted the first clinical trial giving xenon 
gas to patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting in order to 
safeguard against postoperative brain damage that can occur following this 

Research published in Anesthesiology shows how the team safely gave xenon to 
12 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting while on 
cardiopulmonary artery bypass, a step which could eventually lead to new 
treatments for people suffering from illnesses that damage nerve cells, such 
as strokes, and brain and spinal cord injuries.

Earlier preclinical work by the team showed that xenon was effective as a 
neuroprotectant, stopping processes present during strokes or brain and 
spinal cord injuries that would damage nerve cells. They found that xenon 
was capable of blocking the effects of a particular type of glutamate 
receptor, the same receptor implicated in the pathway that leads to nerve 
cell death.

The discovery that xenon acted as a neuroprotectant came about when 
Professor Nick Franks, a biophysicist from Imperial College London was 
investigating possible molecular targets which could be responsible for the 
action of different anaesthetics.

Professor Mervyn Maze, an anaesthetist from Imperial College London who has 
collaborated with Prof Franks in the xenon research programme, said: "We 
knew from our earlier studies that xenon was effective in stopping damaged 
nerve cells from dying, but this study is of tremendous importance as it 
shows that it is feasible to administer xenon safely to a population of 
patients at risk for developing brain damage. What we need now is a clinical 
trial to test the efficacy of xenon in large numbers of patients.

"Xenon could provide a whole new way of treating nerve damaging illnesses. 
Although we can stop people dying from these illnesses, there is not much we 
can do to stop the nerve damage that ultimately leads to devastating 
long-term disability.

Professor Franks added: "We hope xenon could be developed as a novel 
treatment. It is naturally occurring, and more importantly, its known lack 
of toxicity makes it an attractive candidate as a neuroprotectant in humans.

"Ultimately, we hope xenon could become part of standard medical treatment, 
with paramedics being able to administer it to stroke and brain-injured 
victims to stop ongoing nerve cell death."

Maybe we all need a tank of Xenon next to our beds.


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