A new network of 25 regional stroke centers and satellite facilities - the NIH Stroke Trials Network (NIH StrokeNet) - is working to change the way stroke research is conducted in the U.S. Despite advances of the last two decades, stroke remains a major public health problem. Each year, stroke causes death or disability for 795,000 Americans. The numbers are expected to rise rapidly with the aging of the population.
To accelerate the pace of progress, NIH StrokeNet brings together teams of research experts specializing in prevention, treatment and recovery. NIH StrokeNet investigators, working with the broader stroke community, are identifying priorities for stroke research protocols and providing training opportunities for the future generation of stroke researchers. "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., associate director for clinical research at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which funds and manages NIH StrokeNet. The goal is to initiate four or five NINDS-funded exploratory Phase I and II clinical trials, and two to four Phase III trials over the next five years.
Kessler Foundation, which specializes in research in stroke rehabilitation and neuroimaging, connects with the new network via Columbia University in New York City, one of the regional centers in NIH StrokeNet. Kessler Foundation is also known for its training of rehabilitation researchers in stroke, as well as in brain injury, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis. Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, one of the nation's leading rehabilitation hospitals, provides comprehensive stroke treatment and services at its three New Jersey campuses. As the nation's largest single rehabilitation hospital, Kessler Institute is also recognized for its programs for brain injury, spinal cord injury, neurological diseases, orthopedic trauma, amputation and cardiac recovery.
"We are pleased to contribute to this important initiative, which will facilitate the application of new strategies to the clinical care of stroke survivors," said A.M. Barrett, M.D., director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research at Kessler Foundation, and chief of NeuroRehabilitation Program Innovation at Kessler Institute. "Access to effective cognitive and physical rehabilitation is critical to recovery after stroke."