Prioritised research areas

Prioritised research areas for translational stroke research – bridging the gap

In addition to the seven domains, improvement projects and implementation initiatives should also focus on research activities

Clinical discoveries have resulted in huge improvements in the management and treatment of acute ischaemic stroke patients. There have been advances in understanding the pathophysiology of stroke and chronic cerebrovascular diseases1, but the goal of translating this knowledge into successful treatments has not been achieved.

Bridging the ‘translational gap’ between basic and clinical stroke research is critical for the development of effective treatments.

Commitment is needed from EU and national funding agencies to invest in stroke research in a proportionate manner to the magnitude and prevalence of the health problem. Strategies designed to validate findings from exploratory research require a joint effort that exceeds the capacity of individual projects or small sporadic collaborative endeavours.

Strong independent institutional support is required to make the transition from classical designs to a novel concept of organised research structures and data validation that aims to facilitate reliable translation of preclinical findings to clinical practice.

The pharmaceutical industry should also be engaged in this process: involvement of pharmaceutical companies could be increased by facilitating exchanges between academic and pharmaceutical research at the point of transition from exploratory to confirmatory preclinical studies. Finally, researchers must disseminate their findings to bring stroke research closer to patient associations and the general population.

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Targets for 2030

  1. Achieving an organisational framework by implementing confirmatory preclinical research through ‘Team Science’ and by providing novel instruments for advanced experimental designs to increase validity.
  2. Establishing and implementing guidelines for preclinical trials of new treatments to maximise the success of clinical translation.
  3. Focusing experimental stroke research on identification of new treatable targets with high translational potential that lead to successful clinical trials by 2030.

References

1. Demuth HU, Dijkhuizen RM, Farr TD, et al. Recent progress in translational research on neurovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. Restor Neurol Neurosci 2017; 35: 87–103.