Cooling the brain within 6 hours of a stroke has been proven in pilot studies to be remarkably effective in saving patients and reducing brain damage. The European Union has now made available nearly 11 million Euro to fund a phase III clinical trial, a study of unprecedented scale with 60 participating universities and hospitals in 25 different countries. The objective is to treat 1,500 volunteer stroke victims with mild hypothermia – and if the expected benefits are confirmed, this procedure can be rolled out across Europe with the potential of benefiting hundreds of thousands of patients each year.
Stroke is the largest killer after ischemic heart disease in Europe and yet, there are very limited treatments available. The launch of EUROHYP-1, a phase III clinical trial led by Universitätsklinikum Erlangen and the European Stroke Research Network for Hypothermia (EuroHYP), funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme, was announced today at a press conference in Brussels. Dr. Joan Montaner, responsible of the neurovascular diseases at Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and Dr. Carlos Molina, head of the Stroke Unit at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital (HUVH) coordinate the Spanish participation.
“A project of this scale would not be possible without a pan-European approach – no one country or smaller group of member states has yet managed to organize a clinical trial of therapeutic cooling for stroke despite widespread acknowledgement that this is an important and promising therapy” said Dr. Malcolm Macleod, Senior Lecturer and Head of Experimental Neuroscience at the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, who has led a key pilot study which was funded by the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.
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