NIH awards UF Health neurosurgeon $38M grant

The National Institutes of Health on Tuesday awarded a $38 million, five-year grant to a UF Health neurosurgeon to test possible treatments for a leading cause of stroke. 

Dr. Brian Hoh, UF’s chair of neurosurgery, will lead testing on prospective treatments for symptomatic intracranial arterial stenosis, which is a severe narrowing of an artery in the brain. The condition accounts for 8-10 percent of all strokes in the United States, or about 80,000 per year, according to a UF Health press release. Current treatments are ineffective for about 1 in 5 patients. 

“Clearly there is a need for better treatment,” Hoh said in a statement.

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Hoh will lead the national trial with co-principal investigator Marc Chimowitz, a professor of neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina.

According to UF Health, the double-blinded, randomized clinical trial across 115 U.S. sites will include 1,683 participants, who will each receive one of three medical treatment paths for comparison. Enrollment is set to begin in January, and researchers will follow each patient for a year. 

“This important study builds upon years of innovative work by Drs. Hoh and Chimowitz and others across the country who are committed to finding better therapies to prevent and treat stroke,” Dr. Colleen G. Koch, dean of the UF College of Medicine, said in a statement. “What we learn from this trial has the potential to save lives and improve quality of life for tens of thousands of people each year who suffer from intracranial arterial stenosis.”

The new trial builds upon previous work headed by Chimowitz and including Hoh, which led to the current treatment for symptomatic intracranial arterial stenosis of medical management with aspirin and Plavix. The New England Journal of Medicine published those findings in 2011. The Lancet published long-term, follow-up results in 2014. 

The new study will evaluate two additional anticlotting treatment options in comparison with aspirin and Plavix.

UF Health has more information available on the study on its website

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