NYP/Columbia and NYP/Weill Cornell Named to National Institutes of Health Stroke Trials Network

Clinical investigators will share research results with a national network of stroke centers

Jan 16, 2014


In a novel approach to stroke research, investigators from NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center will collaborate to create the New York Stroke Trials Network of Columbia and Cornell. The network is one of 25 regional stroke centers across the country funded by the National Institutes of Health Stroke Trials Network (NIH StrokeNet), announced by the National Institutes of Health in December 2013.

As a regional stroke center, the New York Stroke Trials Network of Columbia and Cornell will run NIH-sponsored clinical trials in stroke prevention, acute stroke treatment, and stroke recovery. The center received five-year funding, beginning with $250,000 per year over the first three years for research costs and the training of stroke clinical researchers. The NIH selected centers that had experience in stroke research, documented ability to recruit stroke patients into clinical trials, and access to all specialties involved in stroke care.

"For the first time, the three main facets of comprehensive stroke care — stroke prevention, acute stroke treatment, and stroke recovery and rehabilitation — will be integrated into an NIH-funded national clinical trials network," said co-principal investigator Dr. Randolph Marshall, chief of the Stroke Division at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and professor of neurology at CUMC. "The New York Stroke Trials Network of Columbia and Cornell will benefit from the expertise of our physicians and scientists in all three areas." At the national level, Dr. Marshall will co-direct the Education and Training Core for the Stroke Trials Network; he also has been appointed to the StrokeNet Executive Committee.

"This grant will allow us to provide our stroke patients with the most up-to-date, cutting-edge treatments available through high-quality clinical trials," said co-principal investigator Dr. Dana Leifer, neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and associate professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College, who will lead work under the grant at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. "It will allow our researchers to participate in developing well-designed trials that will test new treatments for stroke patients and then to conduct these trials along with the other StrokeNet centers. The StrokeNET trials should lead to practical improvements in stroke patient care," Dr. Leifer explained.

Dr. Matthew Fink, neurologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and chairman of the Department of Neurology and the Louis and Gertrude Feil Professor of Clinical Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College, is also named as a co-principal investigator on the grant.

In addition, two neurosurgeons — Dr. E. Sander Connolly, surgical director of the neuro-intensive care unit at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and Bennett M. Stein Professor of Neurological Surgery (CUMC) and Dr. Philip Stieg, neurosurgeon-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery and professor of clinical neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College — have been named co-principal investigators. The New York Stroke Trials Network of Columbia and Cornell is one of only four StrokeNet centers featuring neurosurgeons as co-principal investigators.

Several other features will distinguish the New York Stroke Trials Network of Columbia and Cornell from other StrokeNet sites, including a unique subnetwork of academic stroke rehabilitation sites and a subnetwork of acute stroke hospitals in New Jersey and Brooklyn with capabilities for acute endovascular stroke therapy.

In announcing the grant, the NIH noted that historically, the model for stroke clinical trials was to use large teams of personnel and infrastructure, which were then disassembled once the trial ended. This model, however, often led to delays in patient recruitment and additional costs when new trials were initiated. The nationwide network of stroke centers is intended to improve the efficiency of stroke research.

"NIH StrokeNet will allow the most promising therapies to quickly advance to the clinic, to improve prevention, acute treatment, or rehabilitation of the stroke patient," said Dr. Walter J. Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a subgroup of the NIH. "We need to have a balance of approaches to decrease the burden of illness due to stroke."

The five co-principal investigators will lead a team of more than 30 co-investigators at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center participating in the project. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital treats one of the highest volumes of stroke and cerebrovascular disease patients in the world and the highest in New York City. Stroke patients treated at high-volume centers with specialty-trained physicians have the best recovery and survival rates.

The New York Stroke Trials Network of Columbia and Cornell is funded by NIH Grant 1U10NS086728-01.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive hospitals, with some 2,600 beds. In 2012, the Hospital had nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits, including 12,758 deliveries and 275,592 visits to its emergency departments. NewYork-Presbyterian's 6,144 affiliated physicians and 20,154 staff provide state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at six major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, preclinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest faculty medical practices in the Northeast. For more information, visit www.cumc.columbia.edu or www.columbiadoctors.org.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances – including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with Houston Methodist. For more information, visit Weill Cornell Medical College.

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