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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: High-dose human albumin (ALB) is robustly neuroprotective in rodent stroke models. A phase I dose-escalation study was conducted to assess the safety of ALB therapy in ischemic stroke. We analyzed the data for preliminary evidence of treatment efficacy. METHODS: Eighty-two subjects with acute ischemic stroke (NIH Stroke Scale [NIHSS] of 6 or above) received 25% ALB beginning within 16 hours of stroke onset. Six successive ALB dose tiers were assessed (range, 0.34 to 2.05 g/kg). Forty-two patients also received standard-of-care intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Efficacy outcomes were determined at 3 months. We compared the highest three, putatively therapeutic ALB dose tiers (1.37 to 2.05 g/kg) with the lowest three, presumed subtherapeutic doses (0.34 to 1.03 g/kg) and with historical cohort data derived from the NINDS rt-PA Stroke Study. RESULTS: After adjusting for the tPA effect, the probability of good outcome (defined as modified Rankin Scale 0 to 1 or NIH Stroke Scale 0 to 1 at 3 months) at the highest three ALB doses was 81% greater than in the lower dose-tiers (relative risk [RR], 1.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11 to 2.94) and was 95% greater than in the comparable NINDS rt-PA Stroke Study cohort (RR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.47 to 2.57). The tPA-treated subjects who received higher-dose ALB were three times more likely to achieve a good outcome than subjects receiving lower-dose ALB, suggesting a positive synergistic effect between ALB and tPA. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that high-dose ALB therapy may be neuroprotective after ischemic stroke. These results have led to a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled efficacy trial of ALB in acute ischemic stroke-the ALIAS Phase III Trial.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2107 - 2114


Aged, Albumins, Brain Ischemia, Cerebral Hemorrhage, Diuretics, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Drug Therapy, Combination, Female, Fibrinolytic Agents, Humans, Injections, Intravenous, Male, Middle Aged, Nervous System, Neuroprotective Agents, Pilot Projects, Pulmonary Edema, Serum Albumin, Stroke, Tissue Plasminogen Activator, Treatment Outcome