Clinical stroke research in Canada receives million-dollar grant boost

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The Heart and Stroke Foundation, Brain Canada, and the Canadian Stroke Consortium, have announced the recipients of the 2022 Stroke Clinical Research Catalyst grants. The purpose of this programme, as per a joint press release, is to increase the capacity for clinical stroke research within Canada, with an aim to reduce the burden of stroke, prevent recurrence, and improve patient outcomes through clinical research that will improve the current understanding of stroke and advance stroke care.

The 10 projects that were awarded said grants—each worth CAD$100,000, totalling CAD$1 million—are as follows:

  • Sean Dukelow (University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)—the TeleTaCAS randomised controlled feasibility trial
  • Aravind Ganesh (University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)—development and testing of a system for remote ischaemic conditioning in preparation for clinical trials in cerebral small vessel disease and prehospital stroke care
  • Raed Joundi (McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada)—incidence, trends, determinants and prognosis of post-stroke dementia (INTREPID): a 20-year registry and population-based cohort study
  • Aristeidis Katsanos (McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada)—blood pressure management in stroke following endovascular treatment (DETECT)
  • Ethan MacDonald (University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)—developing a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based pH mapping tool for clinical stroke assessment
  • Michelle Ploughman (Memorial University, St John’s, Canada)—verifying aerobic training protocols to benefit both heart and brain in subacute stroke
  • Alexandre Poppe (Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada)—a multicentre, prospective, randomised, open-label, blinded endpoint (PROBE) controlled trial comparing acute cervical internal carotid artery stenting to no stenting during endovascular thrombectomy for anterior circulation stroke due to acute tandem occlusion: endovascular acute stroke intervention—tandem occlusion trial (EASI-TOC)
  • Deborah Siegal (University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)—intensive cancer screening for cryptogenic stroke (INCOGNITO) pilot randomised trial
  • Nishita Singh (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada)—adaptive platform trial to investigate various therapies in carotid-associated stroke (ACTIVATE-CAS) pilot phase
  • Luciano Sposato (Western University, London, Canada)—sweet spot for cardiac rhythm monitoring after stroke (STARGATE) pilot trial: a pilot-feasibility randomised controlled trial

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with two leading organisations in stroke research to ultimately drive discovery,” said Viviane Poupon, president and CEO of Brain Canada. “These 10 investigators are contributing to improved care along the continuum of stroke, which could transform the lives of many people impacted by stroke in Canada.”

“The Canadian Stroke Consortium is committed to reducing the burden of stroke through fostering quality clinical research and translating our learnings into patient care,” added Andrew Demchuk, chair of the Canadian Stroke Consortium. “On behalf of our members, we are delighted to support the important work of these 10 researchers. Their efforts will contribute to enhancing the lives of Canadians experiencing stroke.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to provide 10 leading stroke researchers with the initial seed funding they need to develop new lines of research and to generate preliminary data,” stated Doug Roth, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “The goal is that this initial investment will support successful applications to larger grants to further advance stroke health.”

The release also notes that the Stroke Clinical Research Catalyst programme has been made possible by the Canada Brain Research Fund (CBRF)—an innovative arrangement between the government of Canada, via Health Canada, and the Brain Canada Foundation, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the Canadian Stroke Consortium. To date, Health Canada has invested more than CAD$155 million through the CBRF, which has been matched by the Brain Canada Foundation, and its donors and partners.


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