A news release issued by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston reports that its researchers were able to enroll patients at other hospitals into an acute stroke clinical trial.

A consideration when conducting clinical trials for stroke, is that “we traditionally are limited to patients who arrive at large stroke centers that have the expertise to treat stroke quickly to minimize damage to the brain,” says Tzu-Ching Wu, MD, first author, assistant professor and director of the Telemedicine Program at UTHealth Medical School and Memorial Hermann Mischer Neuroscience Institute.

“This opens the doors to clinical trials for everyone and helps move science along. Because of the amount of stroke trials that are conducted, it’s hard to find enough participants. This allows us to widen the pool,” Wu explains in the release.

The release reports from May 2013 to July 2014, a total of 10 patients were identified as candidates at Baptist Beaumont Hospital and Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital. Researchers were able to enroll six patients into a randomized, Phase III study investigating the use of transcranial Doppler ultrasound in combination with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). The release notes that the ultrasound is delivered through a device that sits on the head. Andrew Barreto, MD, associate professor of neurology at UTHealth and senior author of the telemedicine paper, led the trial.

Wu states that the researchers were able to bring “the study to the patient. The implications are enormous.”

According to the release, through a robot, patients were identified, screened, enrolled, and randomized to the ultrasound or sham device. There were no study procedure delays or safety events, it adds.

[Photo Courtesy of: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston]

[Source: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston]