MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Nearly 800,000 people a year in the U.S. alone suffer from stroke, and in most of the cases, determining stroke type and time of onset is a difficult and subjective task. A simple, yet revolutionary diagnostic method for stroke detection developed at West Virginia University may soon provide point-of-care clinicians a rapid, accurate, and cost-efficient method for determining the cause and best treatment options for a stroke.

The diagnostic technology has been licensed from WVU by CereDx, a Morgantown-based biotech corporation focused on advancing the treatment of brain injury. CereDx was founded by West Virginia natives Taura Barr, R.N., Ph.D., and Richard Giersch.

Dr. Barr, a WVU School of Nursing faculty member and WVU Center for Neuroscience researcher, developed a way of measuring the presence of biomarkers for stroke that could offer medical providers and emergency personnel an unbiased diagnosis of ischemic stroke and prediction of stroke symptom onset.

“Fast, accurate assessment of the type and timing of a stroke are the keys to determining how patients are treated,” said Barr, CereDx chief science officer and vice chair of the American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing. “Without that information, many patients go without treatments that can vastly improve their recovery outcomes.”

Approximately 85 percent of strokes are ischemic, resulting from an arterial blockage. Each second following a stroke is critical. The sooner a victim is treated, the more brain tissue can be saved. Hemorrhagic strokes, where a vessel ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain, account for the remainder of stroke cases. Treatments for each are not interchangeable.

“If a hemorrhagic stroke is mistaken for an ischemic stroke, the mistake can prove fatal,” said Giersch, CereDx chief executive officer. “When Dr. Barr’s research is developed into a simply performed lab test in the future, not only can the proper therapeutic technique be administered quickly, but diagnostic errors can become far less common. We could not be more excited about helping to bring this life-changing technology to market.”

Matt Harbaugh, WVU’s director of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, echoed this enthusiasm, adding that the CereDx technology, “represents a breakthrough in neuroscience and is a great example of the groundbreaking research that is being conducted at West Virginia University.”

For more information: Leigh Limerick, Communication Specialist, 304-293-7087
lal: 07-29-14