A new multi-million Euro initiative funded by the European Commission has been set up to help prevent stroke in patients with existing conditions.
The €6.9m project is aimed at patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), a common heart condition which causes irregular and abnormally fast heartbeat, who have previously had a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain (termed intracerebral haemorrhage or ICH).
The PRESTIGE-AF project ('PREvention of STroke in Intracerebral hemorrhaGE survivors with Atrial Fibrillation') brings together scientists and clinicians across Europe with the goal of reducing the risk of further stroke in this group of patients.
Prevention is key, and ultimately we aim to prevent stroke and the impact it has on patients’ lives
– Professor Roland Veltkamp
Stroke is one of the largest public health challenges around the world, and occur when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, such as through a clot or a brain bleed.
It is the most common cause of adult-acquired disability, the second leading cause of death globally and the second most frequent cause of dementia. In addition, as stroke is a disease of the elderly, its impact is expected to further increase in the coming decades due to the ageing population.
At the core of the project will be a clinical trial to gather evidence around recommended medication for stroke prevention in patients with AF. A number of substudies will explore individual predictive risk modelling using brain imaging, genetic testing and other biological markers. Other aspects of the project will include exploring cognitive and psychological factors and drug adherence in these patients.
The project will be led by Professor Roland Veltkamp from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London and involves 11 other partner institutions throughout the UK and across Europe including Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria and France. The Consortium members will work collaboratively within the European Commission framework to deliver the desired outcomes over the next five years.
Professor Veltkamp said: “Prevention of stroke is challenging in vulnerable stroke patients with multiple disorders and interacting risks. It’s this complexity that makes it difficult to work out the best individual preventive strategy for a particular patient.”
“Working with our international partners through the PRESTIGE-AF initiative we hope to tackle some of the unmet needs of these patients and develop more personalised treatments. Prevention is key, and ultimately we aim to prevent stroke and the impact it has on patients’ lives.”
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 754517.
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