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Monday, December 30, 2013 - DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan part of a new Michigan network to help revolutionize stroke clinical research

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Cheryl Angelelli
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DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM) is one of nine hospitals in southeast Michigan to form the new Michigan StrokeNet. Michigan StrokeNet, will allow teams of researchers representing every medical specialty needed for stroke care to address the three prongs of stroke research: prevention, treatment and recovery.

Michigan StrokeNet is funded by the National Institutes of Health, which announced the founding of 25 such networks across the country.

Michigan StrokeNet will be coordinated by the University of Michigan Health System’s Stroke Program. The nine participants in Michigan StrokeNet are:

  • DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, Detroit
  • DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital, Detroit
  • DMC Harper University Hospital, Detroit
  • DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Detroit
  • DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Detroit
  • University Hospital (U-M Health System), Ann Arbor
  • Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Ann Arbor
  • Saint Mary Mercy, Livonia
  • C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (U-M Health System), Ann Arbor

"The new system is intended to streamline stroke research, by centralizing approval and review, lessening time and costs of clinical trials, and assembling a comprehensive data sharing system,” said Petra Kaufmann, M.D., the associate director for clinical research at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

NINDS, which will fund and manage the NIH Stroke Trials Network, or NIH StrokeNet, has a strong history of successful stroke clinical trials over the past 40 years, leading to some astonishing advances in treatment and prevention of the disease, including the first treatment for acute stroke, announced in 1995.

The 25 networks are strategically placed in every region of the country. All have experience in stroke research and recruitment, including the ability to enroll underrepresented populations, and were required to offer access to the full cadre of specialties that are involved in stroke care. Each network will receive infrastructure funding for research and education support, with $50,000 per year allocated to train the next generation of  stroke clinical researchers.

The network concept evolved from an NINDS planning effort in which stroke experts were asked what is most needed to reduce death and disability due to stroke in the United States. They called for a nationwide stroke network that would allow for a more seamless transition between early safety and efficacy trials and Phase II and III clinical trials.

“NIH StrokeNet will allow the most promising therapies to quickly advance to the clinic, to improve prevention, acute treatment, or rehabilitation of the stroke patient,” said Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., NINDS deputy director. “We need to have a balance of approaches to decrease the burden of illness due to stroke.”

“Our goal for the NIH Stroke Centers Network is to initiate four to five NINDS-funded exploratory Phase I and II stroke clinical trials, and two to four Phase III trials over the next five years. This is a major challenge which we believe the stroke research community will embrace,” said Scott Janis, Ph.D., NINDS program director of the NIH StrokeNet. 

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, causing brain cells in the immediate area to die because they stop getting oxygen. Stroke can also occur when a vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain. The number of new strokes reported each year is 795,000, making stroke the fourth leading cause of death in the US. Because stroke is age-linked the incidence is expected to rise rapidly in the next decade. For more information about stroke, please visit: stroke.nih.gov.