For Immediate Release
Contact: Tom Capezzuto
At UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School UMDNJ Vascular Surgeon Receives $5 Million Grant to Continue Stroke Prevention Procedures Study
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-New Jersey Medical School has been awarded a $5 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to continue a national study that is evaluating the effectiveness of two interventional procedures for preventing stroke.
The $5 million addendum to the original record-setting $22.3 million grant from the NIH-funded Center for Vascular Disease–the largest in the university’s history–is being administered by the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School in Newark. The project involves more than 100 clinical sites in the U.S. and abroad, said Dr. Robert W. Hobson II, a vascular surgeon at the medical school who is principal investigator and director of the New Jersey site.
Dr. Hobson, a nationally recognized pioneer in stroke prevention and treatment, and his colleagues were among the first vascular surgeons in the nation to successfully perform carotid angioplasty and stenting.
The two procedures being evaluated in the Carotid Revascularization Endartarectomy verus Stent Trial (CREST) are designed to prevent further damage in patients with recent minor strokes associated with severe narrowing of the carotid (neck) arteries that supply blood to the brain. The procedures, performed on those with 50-80 percent blockage, are:
- Carotid endarterectomy, which involves surgically scraping the lining of the carotid artery to remove a build-up of plaque and fatty deposits and restore normal blood flow to the brain.
- Carotid artery stenting, a minimally invasive procedure that involves threading a fine catheter with a balloon end into the carotid artery through the groin. The artery is then dilated and cleared of plaque and fatty deposits. A stent, made of very fine titanium/steel mesh, is inserted into the artery to keep it open to prevent the artery from closing or becoming clogged again.
“The technologically-advanced stenting procedure often is performed on patients who are not able to have the surgery because they cannot be placed under general anesthesia or have scar tissue from prior neck surgery,” Dr. Hobson said. “We have performed more than 200 of these procedures in recent years. If proven effective in CREST, some investigators anticipate that one day as many as 250,000 people will undergo this procedure each year in the United States.”
Dr. Hobson estimated that about 700,000 new strokes occur annually in the United States. Many patients have carotid narrowings and currently 150,000 will undergo carotid endartarectomies annually. Because of the less invasive nature of carotid stenting, estimates for an increase in the number of procedures is anticipated.
The clinical site in Newark is a collaborative effort between the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and St. Michael’s Medical Center, where the surgeries are being performed.
Those who are at risk of a stroke or those who have already experienced mini-stroke symptoms, such as one-sided weakness, numbness or paralysis, sudden difficulty walking, blurred or decreased vision, speech difficulty, dizziness or loss of balance are possible candidates for these procedures.
Those seeking evaluations may contact the Center for Vascular Disease at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School by calling its toll-free “vascular line” at 1-800-VASC-DOC for information about the ongoing study or to make an appointment.
The UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School is one of three medical schools of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. UMDNJ comprises New Jersey’s only medical schools, the state’s only dental school, a nursing school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions and a school of public health on campuses in Newark, Piscataway/New Brunswick, Camden, Stratford and Scotch Plains. It is affiliated with more than 200 health care and educational institutions throughout the state.