So it’s perhaps not surprising that, more than 20 years after figuring out a combination therapy that he believes is a safer, more effective way to treat heart attacks and strokes, he’s had little success getting anyone to listen.Now at age 88, Gurewich is still trying to convince his medical peers that he’s right, and a tiny company he started in 2006 is about to launch a clinical trial in Europe that he hopes will prove it. I don’t give up,” he said during an interview in the modest Cambridge, Mass., offices of Thrombolytic Science International, where the built-in bookshelves are lined with his lab notebooks, meticulously hand-labeled and dating back to 1963.urewich has always loved the satisfaction of research.
“It is fun to think about how something works.” He was 6 when his family fled Hitler’s Berlin.
Gurewich was raised mostly in London and New York, where several German Nobel laureates were regular guests of his doctor father’s.
In those cases, you might receive a drug called tissue plasminogen activator, or t PA.
If given within 4 1/2 hours after a stroke begins, the medication can help dissolve the clot, restore blood flow, and reduce brain damage.
Urokinase was already being used as a clot-buster in people with clots in their lungs, but it sometimes led to brain bleeds, because it didn’t target just the clot.
Gurewich’s urokinase precursor was less likely to lead to brain bleeds, because it was clot-specific, but when he published that finding, it had no impact.
Since then, as he’s labored to get financial backing, another drug became the standard of care in stroke, while clot-busting drugs were abandoned as a treatment for heart attacks. It’s part of his legacy.” nd up in a hospital today with a heart attack, and you’re likely to be rushed in for an emergency angioplasty.
“It’s just a remarkable story,” said Annalisa Jenkins, a British doctor and biotech executive who serves on the TSI board. “His whole life has been unraveling this [medical] pathway. An interventional cardiologist will thread a catheter through your arteries until reaching the site of the blockage in your heart that caused the attack.
But t PA can also cause seizures and fatal brain bleeds, which makes some doctors reluctant to use it.
Gurewich believes his treatment approach could solve both problems: The medications could quickly open up blocked vessels, providing stroke patients effective treatment at lower risk, and giving heart attack patients more time to get an angioplasty or — in areas or countries where the procedure is too expensive or readily available — an effective alternative.
We can survive cuts and bruises without bleeding to death because of our blood’s ability to form clots.