Congratulations to the Heart Research Institute (HRI) Thrombosis Group, led by Prof Shaun Jackson, on receiving an Office for Health and Medical Research (OHMR) award from NSW Health for a four-year PhD scholarship to research new approaches to treat stroke.
This coveted award will support PhD student Cameron Trought and his promising research in the Thrombosis Group to create a new generation of effective blood thinners to dissolve blood clots that can cause stroke, and reduce the risk of bleeding.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability in New Zealand, and those living rurally often have the poorest stroke outcomes in the community.
Cameron and the Thrombosis team at HRI aim to characterise and develop a much safer anti-coagulant drug with the potential to be safely administered in ambulances before the individual reaches hospital.
"It’s really important to remind ourselves that ‘time is brain’, since brain cells die very quickly without enough blood – close to 2 million brain cells can die every minute. We hope that being able to administer emergency therapy in ambulances will dissolve the blood clot that's causing the stroke significantly more quickly and safely than existing therapies," said Cameron.
"This will not only bring down the death rate and long-term disability for everyone, but really excitingly to me, it could have the biggest impact on some of our most vulnerable communities."
Cameron joined HRI initially as a NZ Summer Scholar and stayed at HRI to complete his Honors degree in conjunction with The University of Sydney, School of Medical Sciences. His first studies were with Dr Ashish Misra, Atherosclerosis and Vascular Remodelling Group, and his thesis focused on the anti-inflammatory effect of colchicine and how it can have a protective effect in atherosclerosis, one of the leading underlying causes of heart disease. He was then accepted into HRI’s New Zealand Research Assistant to PhD Pathways Program.
"The environment at HRI is so nurturing and supportive to people who are early in their careers, and who are learning so many new skills in the lab environment.
Cameron's PhD studies will continue for four years and will assess the effectiveness and safety of the new stroke drugs the Thrombosis team is developing. His research will measure how well these drugs can thin the blood and break down blood clots in arteries, and even their potential to prevent formation of the initial blood clot. He will also observe the bleeding risk of these drugs compared to existing blood thinners used in clinics to ensure they are safe to be used in stroke patients.
Header image: Cameron Trought, Thrombosis Group