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      MUSC gets $1.7M for stroke center

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A group of stroke researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina was awarded $1.7 million to serve as the regional center for a national stroke institute.

      The National Institute of Health's StrokeNet aims to develop, promote and conduct more trials focused on stroke prevention, emergency care and recovery. Officials said that while strokes have dropped to the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., it is still an issue in the South, commonly referred to as the "stroke belt."

      There are 25 medical centers within the StrokeNet network and they hope to increase the efficiency in sharing information between the members to develop better stroke treatments.

      "A majority of important phase II and phase III stroke trials supported by the National Institutes of Health over the next 5-10 years will be performed in this network," said Edward Jauch, M.D., MUSC Division of Emergency Medicine director, who will also serve on the NIH StrokeNet National Coordinating Center steering committee. "It is a great opportunity for South Carolinians to participate in these studies which will lead to future stroke therapies."

      The South Carolina Collaborative Alliance for Stroke Trials regional center is lead by Jauch and includes health professionals from MUSC, the University of South Carolina/Palmetto Health and Greenville Health System.

      "This network is currently funded for five years but it is anticipated that the program will continue for at least a decade. Current funding is only for the trial infrastructure, so additional NIH support will accompany each clinical trial conducted by the network, making the total award for the next five years close to $3 million," Jauch said. "Most importantly it means better health and care for stroke patients in South Carolina."

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