Tuesday, September 17, 2002

UC gets $30M to research strokes




By Tim Bonfield tbonfield@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The University of Cincinnati's Neuroscience Institute has been awarded grants totaling about $30 million to continue studying causes and treatments of brain aneurysms and stroke.

SOME GRANTS
  UC's Neuroscience Institute has received about $30 million in federal grants for brain-related research. The grants include:
  $15 million over five years from the NIH for the Familial Intracranial Aneurysm study. UC serves as the coordinator of a 23-center study of the genetic roots of aneurysms.
  $7 million over five years from the NIH for the Special Programs for Treatment of Acute Stroke, which seeks to develop new treatments and blood tests for stroke. $5.2 million over five years to continue a Genetics and Environmental Risk Factors for Hemorrhagic Stroke study to study how smoking and other factors affect bleeding in the brain.
  $750,000 from the NIH and EKOS Corp. to lead a 13-center Investigational Management of Stroke clinical trial, which will compare stroke patients who get tPA injected through a vein to those who also get tPA and ultrasound energy delivered closer to the site of a blood clot.
  $668,000 over five years from NIH for the Familial Aggregation of Stroke study, which seeks to shed light on why in some families, smoking leads to stroke, but leads to lung cancer or heart disease in others.
        The grants, all awarded within the past two months, range in size from $668,000 to $15 million. Most are five-year grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health, but at least one also involves funding from a private company.

        Combined, the grants reflect a significant increase in funding for the Neuroscience Institute, which was formed in 1998 to combine and coordinate brain-related research going on in several medical departments.

        “These kinds of projects help provide the people of Cincinnati with the latest and best care without having to go somewhere else. They also make it easier to recruit experts to town,” said Dr. Joseph Broderick, chairman of UC's department of neurology.

        Just in the field of stroke, research funding at UC has grown from about $1.5 million a year four years ago to about $10 million last year, Dr. Broderick said.

        Officials expect the grants to increase national recognition of the Neuroscience Institute. In three of the studies, UC researchers will serve as lead investigators for projects involving six, 13 and 23 medical centers in the United States and other countries.

        The research also could increase access to cutting-edge care for Tristate families. In one study, more than 1,000 residents will be recruited. Others could involve dozens to hundreds of local families.

        Strokes kill about 145,000 people a year in America, making it the nation's third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

        About 20,000 people a year nationwide suffer ruptured aneurysms, which can cause strokes and can kill in about 40 percent of cases, Dr. Broderick said.

        The biggest grant provides $15 million over five years to UC to support the Familial Intracranial Aneurysm study, which makes it one of the largest aneurysm research projects in the nation.

        UC will serve as the coordinator of a 23-center study of the genetic roots of aneurysms, including medical centers in Australia and New Zealand and collaboration with the National Human Genome Research Institute.

        The study hopes to recruit 400 families in which two or more siblings or three or more family members have suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm.

        Another NIH grant will pay $7 million over five years for Special Programs for Treatment of Acute Stroke, which seeks to develop new treatments and blood tests for stroke. This program includes a six-center clinical trial that will compare lower doses of tPA, a stroke-fighting drug, and a new drug called integrelin.

        And another NIH grant will pay $5.2 million over five years to continue a Genetics and Environmental Risk Factors for Hemorrhagic Stroke study to study how smoking and other factors affect bleeding in the brain.



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