Heart Research Institute (HRI) and The University of Sydney

Project title: Development of novel safe adjunctive antithrombotic therapies for the improved treatment of acute ischaemic stroke

Inspired by bush ticks, this project offers new hope to stroke sufferers by rethinking antithrombotic drugs, developed at the Heart Research Institute and Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney.

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. 85% of strokes are due to a blood clot restricting blood flow to the brain, also known as Acute Ischaemic Stroke (AIS). Diabetics are at increased risk for AIS due to exaggerated clotting (increased thrombin generation). Moreover, clots forming in diabetics are harder to treat (dissolve).

Identification of antithrombotics that improve the clot-busting potential of thrombolytic therapy recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA), without causing bleeding, would represent a major advance in stroke therapy. Unfortunately, existing antithrombotics cause excessive bleeding when combined with rtPA, prohibiting their use in AIS treatment (SI:1 Fig1).

We have studied naturally occurring anticoagulants derived from blood-feeding organisms. Studies on a new direct thrombin inhibitor from the saliva of the Australian bush tick, has led to the discovery of a new anti-clotting agent (AIS109) that causes minimal bleeding, revealing a highly attractive candidate for AIS therapy.

Identification of anticoagulants that can improve the clot-busting potential of rtPA, without causing excess bleeding, would represent a major advance in the treatment of stroke.

TTRA Project Round:  One

State:  New South Wales

Project Partner:  The University of Sydney


  • TTRA: $750,000
  • Industry Contribution: $323,978 cash, $1,652,917.12 in-kind

Project Duration: January 2022 – December 2023

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