The HBI has joined seven of the top stroke recovery research centres in Canada to identify powerful therapies with promise to repair stroke-injured brains, research leaders announced September 14 at the Canadian Stroke Congress.
The HBI is investing $1.2 million over three years into equipment and research salaries to support stroke recovery research as part of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery. The Partnership pulls together leading research groups from University of British Columbia, Sunnybrook Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, The Ottawa Hospital, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Baycrest, and Memorial University of Newfoundland into a powerhouse network focused on recovery from stroke.
There are more than 405,000 Canadians living with long-term stroke disability, a number that is expected to almost double over the next two decades as the population ages and stroke risk factors increase in all age groups.
"Calgary researchers, including HBI member Dr. Sean Dukelow and Dr. Adam Kirton, bring unique expertise in robotics, pediatric stroke and clinical trials," said Dr. Dale Corbett, Scientific Director and CEO of the Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery. "By joining the Partnership, UCalgary will contribute greatly to our collaborative national effort to develop game-changing therapies to improve the lives of people living with stroke."
"As a Calgarian, I am proud of the world-class stroke program at the University of Calgary," says Rod McKay, Chair, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Calgary's involvement in the Partnership will further strengthen stroke-recovery research efforts and build on the Heart and Stroke Foundation's work to create survivors of stroke and heart disease."
In the coming year, the Partnership plans to launch a trial that will test an anti-depressant drug in combination with rehabilitation therapy to reboot recovery in chronic stroke patients who have seen their progress stall. Proof-of-principle stem cell studies in animal models are also underway to help inform the first Canadian clinical trial using stem cells for stroke recovery in the next few years.
As well, Partnership researchers are conducting targeted research in robotics, optogenetics (a form of stimulation that uses a light fibre to try to activate or deactivate circuits involved in post-stroke depression and motor impairment), electrical stimulation, virtual reality, and tele-rehabilitation.
"The HSF Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery represents a group of researchers and clinicians from across the country who have come together to help to solve the problems faced by stroke survivors," says Dr. Dukelow, who will lead the Calgary team.
"There's no question that collaboration between basic and clinical scientists has the ability to tremendously advance the field. Coordination and partnership across several sites for clinical trials creates the ability for the type of multi-site trials that are necessary for research progress."
HSF invests $2 million a year in the Partnership, while partner institutions contribute $3.5 million annually.
The HSF Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery is a joint initiative of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Canada's leading stroke research centres. Headquartered at the University of Ottawa, the Partnership is restoring lives through research. The Partnership was the first organization worldwide focused exclusively on stroke recovery research. Now, it is a model for other countries. Learn more at www.canadianstroke.ca
The Heart and Stroke Foundation's mission is to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. A volunteer-based health charity, we strive to tangibly improve the health of every Canadian family, every day. Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen. heartandstroke.ca