Tell us what the Stroke Association does?
Dr Richard Francis, Head of Research. In my role I develop and manage the implementation of our charity’s research strategy, including our priorities for research investment and existing portfolio. Our goals are to support research leaders of the future, leverage funding for stroke research and fund research that will bring the greatest benefit to people affected by stroke.
There are 1.3million stroke survivors in the UK. Our charity provides specialist support, funds research and supports campaigns so that people affected by stroke can rebuild their lives. Rebuilding lives after stroke is a team effort, and it takes the determination of stroke survivors and carers, the generosity of supporters and the dedication of the healthcare and research communities.
Since 2002, our charity has invested over £56million into stroke research that has led to huge improvements in treatment and care. For example, our charity funded research that showed thrombectomy, a breakthrough emergency treatment for stroke could be made available to stroke patients in the UK.
Why is what you do so important?
Unfortunately, stroke research makes up just 1.2% (£30million) of the investment in health research by UK third sector and public sector organisations. This is despite the fact that stroke strikes every 5 minutes, is the fourth biggest killer and is the leading cause of adult disability. It compares to 17.9% (£483m) investment in cancer and neoplasms. We want to see an increasing amount of funds in stroke research that can bring the greatest benefits to the lives of people affected by stroke.
Our charity provides vital funds for research into stroke prevention, treatment, and long-term care.
What impact could Our Future Health have on detecting, preventing and treating stroke?
The causes of stroke are multiple and complex, and as stroke affects the brain, each is unique.
By collecting important data from millions of people, Our Future Health can provide a vital resource for investigating risk factors for stroke and how to reduce stroke risk, as well as understand stroke recovery and how to personalise treatments so that each stroke survivor can get the support they need. Furthermore, it’s time consuming and costly to recruit patients to individual studies, therefore by working together, Our Future Health can improve the speed and cost-effectiveness of studies.
A recent James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership by the Stroke Association involved over 1,400 people affected by stroke and professionals to identify priorities for stroke research. Research into the prevention of stroke was a number one priority identified to make the greatest difference to peoples’ lives.
Our Future Health can make a step-change in researchers’ ability to study stroke prevention and improve care in this area.