So far, researchers have collected 115 patient samples. Published research from the UK HealthCare team has looked at:
- Biochemical changes in blood gases and electrolytes during stroke.
- Significant differences in how male and female brains handle stroke.
- Changes in gene expression in stroke patients.
Researchers also have observed changes in proteins that were not previously associated with stroke. These differences could help predict a patient’s outcome and lead to new options for reversing stroke damage. “If you see the protein is downregulated and the brain is being hurt, you could possibly give the protein back in the face of a stroke,” Fraser said. Inflammation also plays a significant role in damage following a stroke, so Fraser and his colleagues are researching how white blood cells act during and after a stroke and how those cells affect a patient’s prognosis.
This type of data-driven research requires a large, interdependent team, with UK neurointerventionalists at the bedside working with basic science researchers on a regular basis. The research team includes a computer engineer using statistical modeling and neuroradiologists studying images. The UK HealthCare team is working on grant proposals to further fund the research, and they are in the early stages of partnering with additional institutions to obtain more data.
“There’s no way I could do all this work myself,” Fraser said. “We discovered that each person brings something to the table. The project is so large that each of us can develop our own projects that we spearhead. It really does take that kind of team approach.”