E. Albert Reece presents the award to Gregg Fonarow.


Stroke care research led by longtime American Heart Association/American Stroke Association volunteer Gregg Fonarow, M.D., has been selected as one of the Top 10 Clinical Research Achievements in 2014 by the Clinical Research Forum, a consortium of leading academic health centers.

The awards were presented last Friday at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., and represent the nation’s best examples of research that benefits the health and well-being of Americans.

His landmark study, published last April in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that hospitals participating in Target: Stroke — an AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative to speed stroke treatment — were able to treat patients faster with the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator. That led to better outcomes and fewer treatment complications for patients who had an artery-blocking ischemic stroke.

“Our findings demonstrate the importance of quicker administration of intravenous tPA that can greatly improve patient outcomes,” said Fonarow, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center. “We are very pleased to have our work highlighted by the Clinical Research Forum.”

Stroke is the fifth-leading killer of Americans, and a leading cause of adult disability. Survival depends on prompt treatment to restore blood flow to the brain.

“This is another amazing accomplishment that our quality leaders have made in improving stroke care,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of AHA/ASA. “I applaud Dr. Fonarow and the entire Get With The Guidelines research team for contributing to the advancement of new stroke treatments. This and other research is making a tangible difference in extending and improving the quality of life for many who experience a stroke.”

Fonarow’s study, originally presented at the ASA’s 2014 International Stroke Conference, also received a Distinguished Clinical Research Achievement Award, one of only two studies to receive the additional honor.

“Time lost is brain lost in acute stroke,” said Jeffrey Saver, M.D., a co-investigator on the study and a director at the UCLA Stroke Center. “This national quality improvement program helps hospitals achieve more timely tPA treatment that can preserve brain function, improve neurologic recovery and reduce long-term disability.”

Other winning projects included research on immune therapy, safer delivery of gene therapy, pediatric cancer, more accurately classifying tumors, HIV, treating depression in pregnancy, sepsis care, standardizing antibiotic use in children and sleep apnea therapy.

Video courtesy of Clinical Research Forum.

Photo by Erin Marie Dey