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Dr Jessica Maclean has been awarded a Kanematsu Research Award 2021 from the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) Foundation to advance new potential care for stroke sufferers.

Dr Maclean’s research project “Novel approaches to enhance the thrombolytic potential of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) therapy in stroke” investigates these approaches with the aim of developing a more effective therapy to treat this cardiovascular disease.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide and a major cause of disability, costing an estimated $7.74 billion each year in health care in Australia. tPA is the only pharmacological stroke treatment available, however, due to the side effects of rtPA, less than 10 per cent of stroke sufferers benefit from this therapy.

Despite many years of research, no anticlotting therapy has yet been successfully translated into the clinical treatment of stroke to work in tandem with tPA due to the devastating bleeding complications caused by these therapies.

This new research is critical for improving the therapies available. By avoiding these bleeding complications, we could potentially make treatment available to all stroke sufferers,” says Dr Maclean, postdoctoral research officer in the Thrombosis Group at HRI.

Dr Maclean’s work will investigate the efficacy of an exciting new therapeutic target to safely inhibit platelets in stroke by using several innovative methods recently established with the Thrombosis Group. The techniques include a large artery model of ischaemic stroke Dr Maclean co-developed during her PhD studies, as well as a newly developed method to visualise real-time thrombolysis within a laboratory environment.

Dr Maclean completed her PhD with HRI in 2020 and continues her postdoctoral career with a focus on understanding blood clot development in stroke and investigating new thrombolytic drugs for vascular diseases.

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