November 30, 2007

University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University appoint Anthony J. Furlan, M.D., as chair of neurology department

Pioneer in clot dissolving drugs for treatment of stroke

University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University have announced the appointment of an international authority on stroke, Anthony J. Furlan, as the new chair of the Department of Neurology.

He joins University Hospitals (UH) from the Cleveland Clinic, where he was the associate director of the Cerebrovascular Center, associate director of the Bakken Heart Brain Institute, and director of the Primary Stroke Center.

"Dr. Furlan is a proven leader and a towering figure in the field of stroke care and treatment. He is an excellent addition to our highly respected Department of Neurology," said Fred C. Rothstein, president of UH Case Medical Center.

Furlan was instrumental in developing the field of interventional stroke therapy in which patients with acute strokes receive clot-dissolving drugs called thrombolytic agents that can help restore circulation to the brain. He was the lead author of a major multi-center study called PROACT II that evaluated the use of these drugs. His current research focuses on extending these studies to expand the safe therapeutic time window for treating acute stroke. Currently approved drugs must be given within three hours of the onset of a stroke. Furlan is leading the investigation of an experimental drug called desmoteplase, derived from a protein found in bat saliva that could widen that window to nine hours.

Pamela B. Davis, dean of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, said, "Not only will Dr. Furlan's extensive research and clinical experience benefit University Hospitals's research efforts, he will also play a large role in the education of our students. He is going to add so much to the School of Medicine and to University Hospitals in a multidisciplinary sense that our combined expertise and reputation in the area of stroke care and treatment promises to grow rapidly."

Warren Selman, director of the UH Neurological Institute, said, "Dr. Furlan is a pioneer in heart-brain connections and an outstanding clinician, researcher and educator who has championed rapid treatment response to stroke, a philosophy that we have long espoused at University Hospitals with our concept of a 'brain attack' team. He has led major stroke studies, chaired national and state boards working to improve stroke treatment and response, has been honored by his students with teaching awards and by his peers with prestigious awards of recognition for his work."

Furlan has been recognized by the American Heart Association for his clinical research, including the PROACT II and DEDAS clinical trials for evaluation of new thrombolysis therapies in acute stroke, and the CLOSURE trial of stroke prevention in patients with a congenital heart defect known as patent foramen ovale (PFO).

He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Stroke, and has published more than 150 research papers in peer-reviewed journals, and multiple books and book chapters. Furlan is board certified in psychiatry, neurology and vascular neurology.

He chaired the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Task Force on Hospital Care of Acute Stroke which helped establish hospital guidelines for administration of the clot-dissolving drug tPA. He was co-chair the National Stroke Association Stroke Center Network; founding member of the Brain Attack Coalition; former member of the American Stroke Association Executive Stroke Council, and is a current member of the association's Stroke Center Advisory Committee. His expertise is recognized by the national media with network television programs such as Nightline and Good Morning America frequently calling upon him for his insights into cerebrovascular diseases and conditions.

He earned his medical degree from the Stritch School of Medicine of Loyola University Chicago. He completed his internship and residency at the Cleveland Clinic, and a post-residency fellowship in cerebrovascular research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He is on the faculty of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

He and his wife, Vicki, have two sons and are residents of Moreland Hills, Ohio.

For more information, contact George Stamatis, media relations, University Hospitals, (216)844-3667.

Posted by: Marsha Bragg, November 30, 2007 08:24 AM | News Topics: Administration, Appointments, Faculty, Healthcare, Research

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