Mission: Cerebrovascular disease is the most common neurological disorder, and stroke is the leading cause of disability and second leading cause of death worldwide. Quantitative estimates have shown that 32,000 neurons and 230 million synapses are lost every second during stroke, so that the ischemic brain loses as many neurons per hour as it does in almost 4 years of normal aging. Therefore, it is our mission to better understand the pathogenesis of stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases, to identify and systematically test new therapies, and to better predict, diagnose and treat chronic sequelae.
Clinical Structures: This IRTC is built on clinical care and research within the Division of Vascular Neurology (Petzold), which includes a specialized Stroke Unit dedicated to the comprehensive acute care of stroke patients, a large cerebrovascular outpatient clinic and a clinical Neurovascular Trial Team. The Department of Neurosurgery (Vatter), which specializes in the surgical treatment of cerebrovascular disorders, and the Department of Neuroradiology (Radbruch), which has strong expertise in the diagnosis and interventional therapy of cerebrovascular disorders, are also integral parts of the IRTC. This core structure is supplemented by close clinical interactions with the Departments of Cardiology (Nickenig) and Vascular Surgery (Kalff).
Research Groups and Institutes: The IRTC spans the spectrum from early-translational to late-translational and clinical research. This includes preclinical research at the DZNE Vascular Neurology Research Group (Petzold) which closely collaborates with the IRTC Neurodegenerative Diseases, the Institute of Cellular Neurosciences (Henneberger) and other DZNE groups. Clinical research is centered on clinical trials in the Division of Vascular Neurology and Departments of Neurosurgery and Neuroradiology, in close interaction with the DZNE research areas Clinical Research, Systems Medicine and Population Research.
Research: Research at the IRTC Cerebrovascular Diseases is focused on several key aspects:
- The IRTC aims to better understand the role of vascular pathology in neurodegenerative diseases such as cerebral small-vessel disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral amyloid angiopathy and mixed dementia. This involves preclinical studies in disease models as well as clinical trials and longitudinal population studies.
- A second aim is to define the role of glial cells, in particular astrocytes and microglia, in the pathogenesis of acute stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, using intravital multiphoton imaging, transcriptome and proteome analyses, behavioral assessments and electrophysiological techniques. The overall goal is to identify novel molecular pathways that can be leveraged to develop new treatment strategies for these diseases that can ultimately be tested in clinical trials.
- The IRTC conducts and participates in large-scale multicenter clinicals trials aimed at testing novel treatment strategies, diagnostic techniques and clinical biomarkers in acute ischemic stroke and intracranial hemorrhage.
- The IRTC aims to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms for the treatment of acute stroke patients with interventional mechanical thrombectomy, using imaging analyses and clinical stratifications of multicenter patient cohorts. Research within the IRTC is supported by the DFG, BMBF, EU, DZNE, the pharmaceutical companies and private foundations.