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Our research is focused on the treatment and, ultimately, prevention of stroke. Current research underway is listed below.

Prevention

Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)

Work underway by Professor Simon Koblar and Associate Professors Anne Hamilton-Bruce, Jim Jannes and Tim Kleinig is investigating TIA, an important early-warning indicator for stroke.  We are actively looking for a biomarker to allow easier diagnosis of TIA to improve diagnosis and help avoid a stroke.

Risk of Stroke

Research is underway helping patients to recognise their risks of stroke to allow them to make changes to their lifestyle, which can help to prevent stroke and its impact on them, their family, carers and the community.

Treatment

New Stem Cell and Molecular Therapies for Brain Repair

As stroke is a leading cause of disability, a challenge is to repair the brain after stroke and improve function.  When one area of the brain is damaged from stroke other areas may take on this function, which is called Neural Plasticity. Outside of rehabilitation, there is no active biological agent which can be given to enhance Neural Plasticity and reduce disability. For the last decade we have been investigating molecular and cellular approaches to repairing the brain following a stroke. We were the first in the world to discover a gene called Npas4, which we now recognise plays an important role in Neural Plasticity, and were also first in the world to demonstrate that stem cells from the tooth, Dental Pulp Stem Cells, can improve function in an animal model. Professor Simon Koblar, with his colleagues, is now investigating combining these therapeutic approaches in an effort to discover new active biological agents to treat long-term disability from stroke.

Improving Blood Flow

Associate Professor Tim Kleinig is running a number of clinical trials looking at the various ways to improve blood flow to the brain in an acute stroke. Ischaemic stroke is caused by a blocked vessel, and the best way to treat it is to unblock the artery as soon as possible. In addition, the team are involved in several international trials examining medicine which might keep the brain alive until blood flow is restored, or lessen the chances of swelling or bleeding. The team is also examining novel ways of improving blood flow to the brain in acute stroke while waiting for artery unblocking.

Imaging

Associate Professor Tim Kleinig and team are maintaining a large CT database of all stroke patients going through the Stroke Units at the RAH and LMH, using imaging and clinical predictors to better predict the risks and benefits of treatments.

Professor Simon Koblar, with his colleagues, will use the Clinical Research Imaging Centre at SAHMRI to investigate Neural Plasticity following stroke in the human brain and how different treatments may enhance Neural Plasticity.

Clinical Translational Research

We partner with the South Australian Academic Health Science and Translational Centre (AHSTC) to continuously enhance translation of research into healthcare. Some of our research focuses on improvements in management issues, stroke protocols and standards of care and evaluating the impact of regulations on access to optimal stroke care.  Stroke is an AHSTC priority and we participate in research to improve stroke unit services and expect the opportunity afforded by the opening of the new RAH will assist us to implement clinical translation of stroke research.

Improving Patient Care

Research is underway monitoring stroke data from the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) to ensure there is ongoing service improvement of the Stroke Unit to enhance outcomes for patients.  The new evidence for the combined use of clot-busting drugs and clot retrieval devices has revolutionised the treatment of stroke and our aim is to attain best-practice in all aspects of stroke treatment. Quicker treatment of stroke patients means we can save more of the brain from long-term damage, so our efforts to improve all aspects of patient treatment will lead to improved outcomes for stroke patients.