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Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center

Research – Clinical Trials

Ischemic Stroke Research Trials

Principal Investigator:  Carlos S. Kase, MD
Co-Investigators:  Viken Babikian MD, Jose Romero MD, Aleksandra Pikula MD, Thanh Nguyen, MD
Coordinator:  Helena Lau, RN, MSPH; 617.414.1171


IRIS: Insulin Resistance Intervention after Stroke Trial

Summary:  Pioglitazone is a medication that improves insulin resistance, and is approved by the FDA for diabetes. Insulin resistance is a condition in which insulin, a normal human hormone, does not work effectively because the body is resistant to its effects. Insulin resistance can lead to diabetes and is thought to cause blood vessel disease, including stroke and heart attack in patients with and without diabetes.

Purpose:  This study is designed to find out if a diabetes medication, pioglitazone, helps prevent recurrent stroke or heart attack among patients who have recently had a stroke or TIA.

More information on IRIS.

SPS3: Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes

Summary:  One type of stroke, called "lacunar stroke," affects the deep, inner part of the brain causing small pea-sized areas of damage due to blockage of small blood vessels there. Aspirin is the standard treatment for this type of stroke. Clopidogrel is another medicine doctors' use for stroke prevention. Both of these medications prevent platelets from clumping together with other platelets leading to "clots" that can in turn cause stroke.

Purpose:  This study is investigating whether using aspirin and clopidogrel together is more effective than using aspirin alone in preventing another stroke. At the same time, this study is also investigating what blood pressure level is optimal for preventing another stroke and maintaining brain functions such as thinking ability.

More information on SPS3.

DIAS-4: Desmoteplase in Ischemic Stroke

Summary:  An ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage, called a clot, in an artery that supplies blood to the brain. This obstruction results in a loss of blood flow to the affected area of the brain. The goal of drug therapy used to treat this condition is to dissolve the clot, thereby opening the blood vessel and restoring blood flow to the brain.

At this time, there are no FDA-approved medications to dissolve or remove the blood clot in patients that seek help greater than 4 ½ hours after the onset of their stroke symptoms. The purpose of this research study is to determine whether the investigational drug Desmoteplase is effective in the treatment of ischemic stroke when administered 4.5 to 9 hours after symptoms begin. Desmoteplase is being studied worldwide for its use in the treatment of individuals with stroke.

More information on DIAS-4.

POINT: Platelet-Oriented Inhibition in New TIA and Minor Ischemic Stroke

Summary: A temporary loss of blood flow in the brain can cause sudden and brief disturbances in how the brain functions. This temporary loss is called a TIA (transient ischemic attack). During the TIA episode a person can have stroke-like symptoms for as long as 24 hours, after which the symptoms disappear completely. A TIA is often seen as a warning sign that a person might have a true stroke in the future if nothing is done to prevent it. In a true ischemic stroke, blood supply to part of the brain is decreased, leading to dysfunction of the brain tissue in that area. Clopidogrel (also known by the brand name Plavix®) is a type of medication called an antiplatelet drug, and it works by helping to keep platelets (small blood cells needed for normal blood clotting) in the blood from sticking together and forming harmful blood clots. This helps your blood flow more easily, and provides more protection against a future heart attack or stroke. Clopidogrel is approved for the prevention of a second stroke or TIA.  Aspirin has also been shown to be effective in helping to prevent a second stroke or TIA. 

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine the safety and effectiveness of the combination of low-dose aspirin and clopidogrel in reducing the risk of stroke, heart attacks and other complications in patients who have just had a transient ischemic attack or minor ischemic stroke.

More information on POINT.


Participation in these clinical research trials is voluntary. Patients are provided with complete information of the study, its rationale, risks and benefits of participating. There is no discrimination against patients who decline participation in a study. The study pays for all costs incurred as a result of participation.

The stroke service research coordinator is Helena Lau, RN. You can reach her by dialing 617.414.1171.



Call: 617.638.8456
Fax: 617.638.8465
Email: stroke@bmc.org

Boston Medical Center
Department of Neurology
Shapiro Center
7th Floor, Suite 7B
725 Albany Street
Boston, MA 02118

For Research Information

Contact Helena Lau,
Call: 617.414.1171
Fax: 617.638.5354
stroke@bmc.org or

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