Clinical trials network receives $3.5M for national expansion to test, scale up and fast-track new therapies for stroke recovery

Research team to expand to Kelowna, Windsor, Kingston, Quebec City and Charlottetown, launch multi-site clinical trials, test new medications and technologies, and transform treatment for leading cause of disability

CALGARY, May 11, 2023 – A Calgary-led national platform, called CanStroke Recovery Trials, has received $3.5M over three years to expand to more cities and regions across Canada, deliver large-scale, inclusive clinical trials, and develop a comprehensive training program in stroke recovery.

Led by Dr. Sean Dukelow, MD, PhD, of the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute, CanStroke brings together leading clinicians and researchers across Canada to test new approaches, therapies, and technologies to improve recovery from stroke. It is the world’s first clinical trial platform of its kind.

“Thanks to this grant, the CanStroke platform has the potential to dramatically alter how stroke recovery is managed in Canada, and around the world, over the next 10 years,” says Dr. Dukelow, Professor at the Cumming School of Medicine and Medical Director of Stroke Rehabilitation for the Calgary Stroke Program at Foothills Medical Centre, Alberta Health Services.

“This new funding will give CanStroke the capacity, data capabilities, and training programs it needs to ensure it is productive, impactful, and sustainable,” Dr. Dukelow says. Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) will work closely with CanStroke to further grow its impact through the support of donors.

“The HBI is committed to support the CanStroke initiative and continue to expand research in stroke rehabilitation,” says Dr. David Park, Director of the HBI. “This important platform will be integral in furthering the progression of stroke research and making a difference in the lives of stroke patients ”

In the five years since it was first established, CanStroke has attracted global attention as the launch pad to speed the pace of discovery. At the present time, there are nine stroke recovery trials running – studying everything from drug and exercise combinations to robotics.

In addition to the University of Calgary, CanStroke includes investigators from the University of British Columbia, University of Manitoba, Western University, University of Toronto, Dalhousie University, Memorial University, McMaster University and their respective hospitals.

The grant enables it to expand to Kelowna General Hospital, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor, Providence Care Hospital in Kingston, CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale in Quebec City, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, PEI.  By expanding to new sites, CanStroke aims to improve the quality of stroke rehabilitation across the country and to train people in sites that are not typically involved in large-scale clinical trials.

The CanStroke team will also develop an open-access knowledge hub to share data from stroke recovery trials.

CanStroke’s founding investigators, Dr. Mark Bayley at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Dr. Janice Eng of University of British Columbia, will work with Dr. Dukelow and platform director Farrell Leibovitch as part of CanStroke’s Executive Committee.

The grant to CanStroke has been made possible with the financial support of Health Canada, through the Canada Brain Research Fund, an innovative partnership between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada. CanStroke is based on a collaborative partnership between the Heart & Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute and Sunnybrook Research Institute.

More than 60 per cent of Canadians who have a stroke are left with some disability. There are 878,500 people living with stroke in Canada.

Together with affiliated networks, CanStroke has launched a new website to provide a one-stop portal to clinical trials in stroke.

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Farrell Leibovitch,