Chauhan, Leira to lead stroke research site at Iowa

Anil Chauhan, MTech, PhD, professor in Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation, and Enrique Leira, MD, MS, professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Epidemiology, have received a three-year, $1.1M Stroke Preclinical Assessment Network (SPAN) grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to support translational studies for acute neuroprotection.

Currently, there is no effective intervention following reperfusion therapy either with thrombolytic therapy or mechanical thrombectomy. The main objective of the SPAN network is to address this need by prioritizing the testing of different neuroprotective agents in humans based on their measured comparative efficacy in experimental stroke models. NINDS has funded six centers, along with a SPAN coordinating center at the national level, to test up to six promising interventions for neuroprotection with the same rigor as used in multi-center clinical trials.

The University of Iowa SPAN was selected to be one of the testing centers because of its proven capacity to conduct rigorous translational animal research and stroke trials. “We coupled that reputation,” Chauhan said, “with our proposed candidate for neuroprotective intervention, exogenous uric acid supplementation.” Uric acid, Chauhan explained, is a free radical scavenger that has shown promising neuroprotection in different pre-clinical models of ischemia. “Preliminary efficacy data in human studies done by our collaborators at the University of Barcelona has shown promise.” The SPAN network will combine Chauhan and Leira’s experience using a rigorous methodology to minimize biases, including randomization, blinding, intention-to-treat analyses, and independent outcome adjudications.


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