Organ injury caused by ischemia and anoxia during prolonged cardiac arrest is compounded by reperfusion injury that occurs when spontaneous circulation is restored. Mild hypothermia (32-35oC) is neuroprotective through several mechanisms, including suppression of apoptosis, reduced production of excitotoxins and free radicals, and anti-inflammatory actions. Experimental studies show that hypothermia is more effective the earlier it is started after return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). Two randomized clinical trials show improved survival and neurological outcome in adults who remained comatose after initial resuscitation from prehospital VF cardiac arrest, and who were cooled after ROSC. Different strategies can be used to induce hypothermia. Optimal timing of therapeutic hypothermia for cardiac ischemia is unknown. In patients who failed to respond to standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation, intra-arrest cooling using ice-cold intravenous (i.v.) fluid improved the chance of survival. Recently, fasudil, a Rho kinase inhibitor, was reported to prevent cerebral ischaemia in vivo by increasing cerebral blood flow and inhibiting inflammatory responses. In future, two different kinds of protective therapies, BCL-2 overexpression and hypothermia, will both inhibit aspects of apoptotic cell death cascades, and that combination treatment can prolong the temporal 'therapeutic window' for gene therapy.