Scientists and clinicians affiliated with the University of Minnesota Stroke Center through the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Research Center are seeking innovative ways to both prevent strokes and lessen their impact. Here are some of their current and proposed research projects:
- A multicenter clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health and led by Adnan I. Qureshi, M.D., executive director of the Stroke Center, will test the effectiveness of medications used to control blood pressure in patients with hypertension in acute treatment of hemorrhagic strokes not caused by rupture of a visible aneurysm.
- “Bleeding into the brain usually continues after the small blood vessel has ruptured,” Qureshi explains. “We want to see if drugs that reduce blood pressure might also reduce continuing bleeding and thus reduce the damage caused by tissue disruption and pressure on the brain.”
- Robert Taylor, M.D., assistant professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and radiology and associate director of vascular neurology fellowships, will be leading a study to look at the role of the brain’s vascular biology in precipitating strokes.
- In partnership with the School of Pubic Health, Stroke Center neurologist Muhammad Fareed K. Suri, M.D., has just begun a two-year epidemiological study involving 15,000 patients that seeks to identify genes associated with a specific kind of ischemic stroke called small vessel disease stroke. The findings, he says, could help doctors identify genetic markers for more common forms of stroke.
- Collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health, Stroke Center neurologist Kamakshi Lakshminarayan, M.D., is collecting data on stroke treatment provided at Minnesota hospitals to help them measure and improve their quality of patient care.
- Current stroke treatment focuses on saving brain cells. Vallabh Janardhan, M.D., also a neurologist with the Stroke Center, is leading a study to determine whether stem cell therapy might be effective in replacing cells that have already died.
- The Stroke Center is also involved in trials aimed at standardizing the way specific treatments are selected for individual patients. Currently, matching treatment to patient relies on neuroradiological imaging and a physician’s diagnostic experience—and is as much art as science.
“The key to success for acute treatment of stroke lies in knowing who is an appropriate candidate for each kind of therapy,” says Ramachandra Tummala, M.D., a vascular neurosurgeon with the Stroke Center. “The arteries of the brain are much more fragile than elsewhere in the body, so each form of neurointerventional therapy carries some risk.”