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Stroke research, treatments get boost from grants to Chicago hospitals

MAYWOOD, Ill. – A new network dedicated to advancing research and therapies for stroke is forming in Chicago thanks to $2 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Chicago Stroke Trials Consortium is a partnership among Northwestern Medicine®, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, Loyola University Medical Center, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Rush University Medical Center and University of Chicago Medicine that will build an infrastructure to support clinical trials for stroke prevention, treatment and recovery. Northwestern University will be the regional coordinating center for the consortium and administer the project over the next five years.

“The Chicago Stroke Trials Consortium brings together the city’s leading stroke experts and top medical centers in an integrated approach to improving treatment of stroke and reducing death and disability from the disease,” said Shyam Prabhakaran, MD, MS, the principal investigator for the consortium, who is a neurologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The primary goal of the network is to rapidly develop, promote and execute high quality, multicenter clinical trials that will study interventions for prevention, treatment and recovery from stroke in both adult and pediatric patient populations."

The consortium is funded through the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which supports clinical research nationwide through a series of regional stroke networks. With an emphasis on patient recruitment and retention, the network will facilitate novel approaches to stroke care and accelerate the development of promising therapies.

Every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and No. 1 cause of adult disability, leaving more than two-thirds of survivors with lasting impairment. While the risk of having a stroke increases over the age of 55, a stroke can occur at any age.

“We are thrilled to be part of the stroke trial network, which will define the cutting edge of stroke research for the next five or 10 years,” said José Biller, MD, a stroke specialist and chair of Loyola University Medical Center’s Department of Neurology. “Our participation ensures that our patients will have access to the most important clinical trials in the field. We are especially pleased to establish close collaboration with our distinguished partners around the city. I expect the Chicago trial network will make a major contribution to the success of the national network."

Building on existing alliances and collaboration among top hospitals in Chicago, the consortium is made up of researchers and physicians from a variety of disciplines, including neurology, neurological surgery, neuroradiology, vascular surgery, emergency medicine, rehabilitation medicine and pediatric neurology.

Each participating medical center will have a primary investigator who will lead its consortium research efforts. Co-investigators for the study include: Richard Bernstein, MD (Northwestern Memorial); Mark S. Wainwright, MD, PhD (Lurie Children’s); José Biller, MD, and Sarkis Morales Vidal, MD (Loyola); Elliot Roth, MD (Rehabilitation Institute); James J. Conners, MD, MS (Rush); Michael Kelly, MD (Stroger); and James Brorson, MD (University of Chicago).

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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Jim Ritter
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