The fight against stroke has received a significant boost thanks to a $13.7 million program grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
The grant is led by Professor Stephen Davis, the Director of the Melbourne Brain Centre at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, and Professor Geoffrey Donnan, the Director of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. It includes some of the greatest stroke researchers in the country from the University of Melbourne, the RMH, The Florey, University of Western Australia, John Hunter Hospital and the University of Newcastle.
Professor Davis said the NHMRC funded program grant saving brain and changing practice in stroke will look at tracking the stroke journey from onset to recovery.
“With stroke the second biggest leading cause of death and a leading cause of chronic disability, the NHMRC program grant will have a major impact on the diagnosis and treatment of stroke worldwide,” Professor Davis said.
“Together with my colleagues, we are determined to tackle the issue of how can we treat stroke faster, use more advanced brain imaging and increase the uptake of available stroke treatments.
“Our five year program starts with the paradigm that “time is brain”, looking at novel ways to reduce threatened brain tissue at the time of a stroke, treatment commencing in the “Golden Hour” before hospital arrival, followed by new treatment and care in the hospital setting, research on brain recovery and the implementation of new practices of stroke care in Australia and worldwide.”
In 2015, the Royal Melbourne Hospital led a landmark study called EXTEND-IA*, which influenced the treatment of stroke across the world.
The study involved adding a minimally invasive clot removal procedure called stent thrombectomy to standard clot-dissolving therapy, known as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and was described as a game changer for stroke treatment worldwide.
Professor Davis added that the program funding received from the NHMRC and the Australian Government is testament to the outstanding stroke specialists and medical researchers we have in Australia.
“We have some of the world’s eminent stroke medical researchers working on this program of research and we are all determined to give stroke patients the best chance of recovery and survival,” Professor Davis said.
The Royal Melbourne treats approximately 600 ischemic stroke patients a year and is one of the few stroke centres in the world to treat patients within 20 minutes of arriving in the emergency department.
*The EXtending the Time for Thrombolysis in Emergency Neurological Deficits - Intra-Arteria