A protein in spider venom may help protect the brain from injury after a stroke, according to research.
Scientists found a single dose of the protein Hi1A worked on lab rats.
They said it showed “great promise as a future stroke treatment” but had not yet been tested in human trials.
Professor Glenn King, who led the research, said: “During preclinical studies, we found that a single dose of Hi1a administered up to eight hours after stroke protected brain tissue and drastically improved neurological performance.
“This world-first discovery will help us provide better outcomes for stroke survivors by limiting the brain damage and disability caused by this devastating injury.”
The Stroke Association said the research was at its early stages but it would “welcome any treatment that has the potential to reduce the damage caused by stroke”.
Dr Kate Holmes, deputy director for research at the Stroke Association, said: “Current treatments must be given in half this time period, and it is too early for us to know if this research can offer an alternative for stroke patients.”