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Yale Scientists Receive a Major Award to Investigate Hemorrhagic Stroke

February 11, 2021
by Robert Forman

A scientific team at Yale led by Lauren Sansing, MD, MS, associate professor of neurology and of immunobiology, and Kevin N. Sheth, MD, professor of neurology and neurosurgery, is part of a three-institution research network being formed by the American Heart Association (AHA) to study and treat hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when weakened blood vessels rupture and allow blood to enter the surrounding brain. The network is funded by an $11.12-million gift from the Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation.

According to AHA, roughly 13% of strokes are hemorrhagic. The damage they cause can impair cognitive abilities including thinking, moving, feeling, talking, understanding, and writing. Black and Hispanic patients are at higher risk than other population groups.

“The AHA-Bugher Center of Excellence will strengthen and grow our collaborations across Yale and the network to advance discoveries for this devastating disease,” says Sansing, who also is academic chief for the Division of Stroke and Vascular Neurology at Yale. “The Yale center bridges basic, clinical, and genomic studies, truly integrating and informing different scientific approaches with one goal in mind, finding the best treatments for our patients.”

The Yale team will seek to personalize the treatment of high blood pressure. The first Yale project will include studying how the body’s immune system signals the brain during a bleeding stroke and how current blood pressure medications affect those signals for better or worse.

The second project will study which blood pressure medications are best at lowering blood pressure in people who have had a brain bleed, using measurements of kidney proteins to determine efficacy in the medications. This project will begin to study a one-time kidney procedure as a potentially creative way to achieve better blood pressure control.

The team’s third project will focus on genetics to help figure out how a particular medicine can work in a specific person. The ultimate goal of team will be to develop a personalized medicine tool to deliver the individual risk information to treating providers to aid in decision-making.

In addition to Sansing and Sheth, who are co-directors of the Center of Excellence at Yale, Guido Falcone, MD, ScD, MPH, assistant professor of neurology, will be a principal investigator. There also will be a training component with AHA-Bugher fellows and collaborations with the Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University as well as the University of Pennsylvania.

Sheth says the award reflects long-term scientific excellence at Yale. “For years, Yale has had a consistent history of making contributions to brain hemorrhage science. It is rewarding to see our community recognized through the Bugher award from the AHA."

The two other institutions in the network created by the gift are Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the University of California, San Francisco.

Submitted by Robert Forman on February 11, 2021