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Jab may cut strokes and heart attacks

An injection given to heart attack and stroke sufferers could radically reduce their devastating effects, a new study claims.

Heart attacks and strokes can cause devastating inflammatory tissue damage to the heart and brain. The attacks are caused by interrupted blood flow which deprives body parts of oxygen.

Most of the long-term damage happens when circulation begins again -- and the body's own defences for some reason attack the oxygen-starved cells.

But scientists have developed an antibody that greatly limits the damage, and work has begun to translate this into clinical therapies.

Professor Wilhelm Schwaeble, of Leicester University, led the research with King's College London, Japan's Medical University of Fukushima, and the State University of New York.

He said: "This is a fascinating new achievement in the search for novel treatments to significantly reduce the tissue damage and impaired organ function that occur following ischaemia in widespread and serious conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.

"This new potential therapy was also shown in animals to significantly improve outcomes of transplant surgery and may be applicable to any surgical procedure where tissue viability is at risk due to temporary interruption of blood flow."