UH News

Cleveland Institutions Receive NIH Grant for Regional Stroke Clinical Trials Coordinating Center

Thursday, October 17, 2013

CWRU, UH, CC, MetroHealth, and VA to work together to move stroke research from ‘bench to bedside’

CLEVELAND – October 10, 2013 – Five Cleveland biomedical research and health care institutions have received a $1 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), one of the National Institutes of Health, to collaborate on developing the Cleveland Stroke Clinical Trials Regional Coordinating Center.

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine will administer the five year grant through its Clinical Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC), an initiative that has secured $128 million to accelerate the progress of medical breakthroughs from research labs to patient care.

Under the five-year grant, Case Western Reserve will work with its CTSC partner institutions which include primary affiliate University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth Medical Center, and Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, to improve prevention and treatment of strokes as well as rehabilitation for stroke patients.

“When we bring together talented and passionate people, incredible progress consistently follows,” School of Medicine Dean Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD, said. “We are delighted to see another strong partnership secure federal support to advance its outstanding work.”

Principal investigator on the Cleveland project is Anthony J. Furlan, MD, Chairman and Professor of Neurology at CWRU School of Medicine and UH Case Medical Center. Co-principal investigator is Peter A. Rasmussen, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery at CWRU School of Medicine and Director of the Cerebrovascular Center at Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Furlan has extensive experience in the design and management of large stroke clinical trials. In the 1990s, he guided another collaborative stroke project in the city called Cleveland Operation Stroke, which piloted the American Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines campaign and is now a national program that sets standards for hospital stroke care.

“Cleveland has internationally renowned stroke researchers and a rich history of cooperation among our hospital systems for stroke care,” said Dr. Furlan. “With many hospital sites that have experience in stroke care and clinical research, we will be able to enroll large numbers of patients into a wide variety of clinical research trials.”

The grant provides resources to advance collaboration among the four major centers as well as 14 individual hospitals within their respective systems.

For example, the grant will support a centralized institutional review board for research projects, a project manager and research coordinators, among other elements. The Regional Coordinating Center will develop, prioritize and implement stroke projects for the NINDS. Selected projects will be funded separately under a Master Agreement with the institute. The grant also includes funds for training a new generation of young stroke clinical investigators.

“Stroke is one of the top killers in the United States and the leading cause of long-term disability,” said Dr. Rasmussen. “This partnership will help advance stroke research that will ultimately lead to better treatment and care for stroke patients.”

Other key senior investigators with the project include John Chae, MD, and Joseph Hanna, MD, of MetroHealth Medical Center, Svetlana Pundik, MD, of the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA, Sophia Sundararajan, MD, and Cathy Sila, MD, of UH, and Ken Uchino, MD, of Cleveland Clinic. Physicians and researchers from neurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, neurocritical care, pediatric neurology and the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center also will participate.

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