Boehringer Ingelheim is funding a new initiative to tackle stroke in Europe, a leading cause of disability and death. Together with the European Stroke Organisation, it aims to have 1500 new stroke-ready centres by 2019.
Cardiovascular diseases are now the #1 cause of death all over the world, killing an estimated 17.5 million people according to the WHO. Of these, acute ischemic stroke is a particular challenge for health authorities, as patients need to be treated in very short timeframes.
With a strong cardiac program (which includes its blockbuster anti-coagulant), Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany) has been launching parallel initiatives to improve these numbers. An example is its previous collaboration with the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) to award €400k grants for research in cardiovascular diseases.
Now, Boehringer Ingelheim is joining the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) to improve the care of stroke patients. Named ‘Angels Initiative‘, this new program wants to create a community of at least 1,500 centres and hospitals specialized in stroke treatment.
If patients are treated as quickly as possible and according to best standard of care in dedicated stroke centres, their chances of survival and a disability-free life can be improved dramatically. However, over 70% of acute stroke patients in Europe are not being treated in such centres.
The initiative will be fully funded by Boehringer Ingelheim and builds on similar programs it already carried out in other regions. Boehringer Ingelheim estimates that a similar initiative in India has increased 3-fold the number of patients treated.
The measures backed by the initiative were developed together with stroke experts from around the world. Besides educational programs, they include process optimization in hospitals and the creation of a network of doctors and specialists in the field.
There is a number of Biotech developments for stroke therapy. For example, ReNeuron (UK) has a cell therapy in Phase II/III trials. Dedicated care centers are also important to help make these advances available to the patients who need it.