Speed Reads

Heartbreaker

This 88-year-old doctor has developed a groundbreaking stroke treatment — but no one will listen

Dr. Victor Gurewich believes he has a better way to treat strokes and heart attacks. But no one wants to hear it.

The 88-year-old Harvard Medical School professor just wants to publicize and test what could be a groundbreaking treatment, but he has struggled to be taken seriously, Stat News detailed in a report published Friday. Gurewich's treatment combines two medications to quickly break clots and reduce potential brain damage until a patient can receive angioplasty, which pushes a clot away for good.

Gurewich ran a clinical trial on the treatment 23 years ago, but the company that ran it shut down. Instead of Gurewich's method, a drug called tPA rose to prominence.

But tPA often causes seizures and brain bleeds, making some doctors afraid to use it. Gurewich thinks he could produce a safer alternative, and with his research, he should've be able to find funding for another clinical trial by now. But some professionals shoot down Gurewich's idea, saying it's out of date. Others have never even heard it.

But when Stat explained Gurewich's proposal to one medical professional, the doctor said it was a "nifty idea," and "maybe" even a "great" one. Gurewich has some other staunch supporters who "believe in the science" behind his work.

One foundation has kept Gurewich's company afloat for years, and it's finally helping his treatment take the next step: A clinical trial of 100 patients will start in the Netherlands this June. With more funding, the treatment should get a second trial in London. Read more about Gurewich's unending determination at Stat News.