Columbia Offers Latest Stroke Treatments Through National Network

Columbia patients will be able to participate in clinical trials evaluating the most promising therapies for stroke through trials offered through the New York Stroke Trials Network of Columbia and Cornell, one of 25 centers across the country selected to form the National Institutes of Health Stroke Trials Network (StrokeNet).

“By participating in StrokeNet, patients at CUMC will have access to the most advanced and cutting edge treatments,” says co-principal investigator Randolph Marshall, MD, the Elisabeth K. Harris Professor of Neurology at CUMC and chief of the stroke division. “Trials will be completed faster, new effective treatments will be identified sooner, and advancements will improve stroke treatment for all patients.”

The NIH established StrokeNet earlier this year to rapidly and efficiently conduct trials of the most promising stroke therapies. Before StrokeNet was created, new teams of personnel from multiple medical centers were assembled each time a large clinical trial was initiated. The teams recruited patients, paid bills, and analyzed data then were disbanded when the trial was completed. The inefficiencies of the process led to cost overruns and delays in patient recruitment and trial completion.

StrokeNet eliminates the inefficiencies and creates a permanent infrastructure to conduct phase 2 and 3 clinical trials through the 25 regional centers. The coordinated and long-range approach of StrokeNet also will ensure that the trials with the greatest potential health impact are prioritized and moved efficiently toward clinical practice. All NIH-funded phase 2 and 3 stroke trials will be conducted through the national network.

Dr. Marshall expects the first StrokeNet trials, covering stroke prevention, acute stroke treatment, and stroke recovery and rehabilitation, to begin enrolling patients at CUMC this fall.

The New York Stroke Trials Network of Columbia and Cornell is led at Columbia by Dr. Marshall and E. Sander Connolly, MD, the Bennett M. Stein Professor of Neurological Surgery.

Columbia and Cornell have extensive leadership in stroke clinical trials and have been involved in 44 human stroke studies in the past five years. Another research project, the Northern Manhattan Study, is an ongoing study of stroke and stroke risk factors in the Northern Manhattan community. The study, which started enrolling individuals in 1993, is led by Mitchell Elkind, MD, professor of neurology and epidemiology.

The network’s patient demographics (Columbia patients are 40 percent Hispanic and 25 percent African-American and Cornell’s patients are 15 percent Asian) will help StrokeNet trials identify the best treatments for a diverse population.

The network will enroll patients at the Columbia and Cornell campuses of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, three rehabilitation centers (Helen Hayes Hospital in Rockland County, Burke Rehabilitation Center in Westchester County, and Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey), and three acute stroke hospitals (Valley Hospital in New Jersey, St. Joseph Hospital in Long Island, and New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn). In addition, the network will expand soon to include SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, SUNY Upstate in Syracuse, and the University of Rochester, permitting even greater enrollment and more rapid completion of the trials.

A list of available trials can be viewed online at the StrokeNet website: