11:37pm Monday 21 October 2019

Focussing on Australia's second biggest killer

The cluster will conduct the START (Stroke, imaging, pRevention and Treatment) cohort study of stroke which is designed to integrate imaging and biomarker analysis to identify patients at risk of stroke.

Those strategies will then be used to develop preventative measures for those patients.

The START Cohort will collect and analyse information derived from brain imaging and blood samples taken from 200 Australian stroke victims with the aim of discovering and validating new diagnostic biomarkers to identify patients at risk of recurrent stroke and post-stroke depression.

Leader of the Cohort, Professor Geoff Donnan from the Florey Neuroscience Institutes, says that through the START cluster, Australia will lead and hold the data repository for the pre-eminent study of stroke impact worldwide. 

“START will provide data that will inform ways to improve recovery and reduce disability in stroke victims as well as decrease the risk of secondary stroke,” Professor Donnan said.

Director of CSIRO’s Preventative Health National Research Flagship, Professor Richard Head, said stroke takes an enormous and growing toll on the health and wellbeing of people and health care systems worldwide.

“Identifying stroke biomarkers will greatly advance research into preventing or delaying the onset of this debilitating medical condition,” Professor Head said,”

Professor Head said.

“Facilitating recovery from stroke and reduction of the likelihood and/or severity of recurrent stroke will make a significant contribution to improving the wellbeing of a significant number of Australians as well as decreasing hospitalisation costs and thus improving the sustainability of our health system,” Professor Head said.

CSIRO will collect, process and store blood samples from participants taking part in the EXTEND  clinical trial – a trial which aims to validate extending the three hour approved time frame for administering the clot-busting protein tissue plasminogen activator (tPA to nine hours after stroke.

This resource – together with the matched clinical and lifestyle data being collected under the EXTEND clinical trial – will enable researchers to conduct biomedical research including discovery and validation of biomarkers for stroke.

“Identifying stroke biomarkers will greatly advance research into preventing or delaying the onset of this debilitating medical condition,” Professor Head said.

It is hoped that these biomarkers will eventually enable researchers to identify diet and lifestyle interventions.

Advanced imaging techniques will also be used by the cohort to improve the understanding of the vasculature and blood flow changes that take place in the brain during stroke.

This study complements CSIRO Preventative Health Flagship’s research programs in discovery and validation of diagnostic biomarkers for other chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The START cohort study of stroke is a collaboration between the CSIRO Preventative Health Flagship, The Florey Neuroscience Institutes, The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital as part of Melbourne Health and Neurosciences Victoria.

The launch of START – at 10.30am today in the Alan Gilbert Building, University of Melbourne – coincides with the commencement of National Stroke Week.

Read more media releases in our Media section.

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