A UCLA-led study on improving stroke care was selected by the Clinical Research Forum (CRF) as one of the 10 most outstanding research papers written by teams from across the nation in 2014. The organization highlighted the papers at its fourth annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on April 16.
The 10 winning papers were chosen by the Forum based on their degree of innovation from a pool of more than 50 nominations from 30 research and academic health centers nationwide, including UCLA, Duke, Georgetown, University of Pennsylvania, and more.
UCLA’s paper had the added distinction of also receiving a Distinguished Clinical Research Achievement Award, one of only two papers to receive this additional honor.
The UCLA paper, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in April 2014, compared door-to-needle time for receiving the clot-busting drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) for acute ischemic stroke before and after implementation of a quality improvement program called “Target:Stroke.”
Researchers found that hospitals implementing this program markedly increased the speed with which they treated stroke patients with tPA, from 74 to 59 minutes. Ideally, patients should receive the infused medication within 60 minutes after arriving at the emergency room.
The faster treatment was accompanied by improved outcomes, including reduced mortality, fewer treatment complications and greater likelihood that patients would go home after leaving the hospital instead of being referred to a skilled nursing facility for advanced rehabilitation.
“Our findings demonstrate the importance of quicker administration of intravenous tPA that can greatly improve patient outcomes. We are very pleased to have our work highlighted by the Clinical Research Forum,” said study author Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, Eliot Corday Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science and director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, who accepted the award for the team at the meeting.
UCLA study author Dr. Jeffrey L. Saver, a professor of neurology, also notes the importance of the study.
“Time lost is brain lost in acute stroke. This national quality improvement program helps hospitals achieve more timely tPA treatment that can preserve brain function, improve neurologic recovery, and reduce long-term disability,” said Saver, who is also director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
The Clinical Research Forum and its supporters believe the awarded papers represent the best and brightest work in the field, and will lead to advancements in medicine that will change lives and patient outcomes worldwide.
“I applaud the researchers recognized for their groundbreaking clinical research that will advance new treatments to reduce suffering and bring hope to millions of people,” said NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
In addition to UCLA’s study on improving stroke care, other award-winning paper topics honored by the Forum included:
The Clinical Research Forum advocates for increased respect for the field, which members hope will translate to sustained financial support from the NIH, academia, foundations and other donors.
“The better our clinical research, the greater our ability to diagnose, treat and prevent illness,” said Herbert Pardes, Co-Chairman of the Clinical Research Forum Board of Directors.
Target: Stroke was sponsored by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
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About the Clinical Research Forum Formed in 1996, the Clinical Research Forum convenes annually to allow industry leaders to discuss issues facing the field, best practices, and promote understanding and support for clinical research and its impact on health and healthcare. Through its activities, the Forum has increasingly played a national advocacy role in supporting broader interests and needs of clinical research.