June 17, 2020

During the past few months of Covid-19 upheaval, the CPSR has worked with its partners to pivot research trials, create new online resources and tools, and to move meetings and workshops to virtual delivery.

More information about new resources, including a series of 10 self-management videos developed with the Calgary Stroke Program's Early-supported Discharge team, will be shared with you in the next couple of weeks.

Our Annual Scientific Meeting planning committee is working hard to develop a new approach to our fall meeting, which is expected to be a content-rich, collaborative gathering (delivered in easily-digestible virtual sessions). And our annual SPiN workshop is going online with a multi-site international lab tour and many other exciting features.

CanStroke Recovery Platform for Clinical Trials

While enrolment in some clinical trials is temporarily on hold during the Covid-19 pandemic, all eight sites in the CanStroke Recovery national clinical trials platform are still actively looking for potential participants. Two studies, ABC (Arm Boot Camp) and TRAIL (
TeleRehabilitation with Aims to Improve Lower Extremity Recovery Post-Stroke), have been converted to completely remote trials so they can run during the pandemic. Here is further information about these trials:

ABC (Arm Boot Camp)

A total of 64 stroke participants from seven sites across Canada (Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, London, Toronto UHN, Toronto Sunnybrook and Halifax) will be recruited for this study, led by Dr. Janice Eng at UBC, to determine whether a program that involves an arm and hand exercise program in combination with feedback from an activity monitor is more effective than usual care for increasing greater movement repetitions of the affected arm and hand after stroke. Participants in this study will receive an e-mail with a link to the e-Consent form and will attend screening, measurement, and training sessions all conducted remotely using Zoom.

TRAIL (TeleRehabilitation with Aims to Improve Lower Extremity Recovery Post-Stroke)

A total of 32 stroke participants from five sites across Canada (Vancouver, Winnipeg, London, Toronto UHN and Halifax) will be recruited for this study, led by Dr. Brodie Sakakibara at UBC and Dr. Ada Tang at McMaster. It will evaluate whether a four-week tele-rehabilitation program that focuses on leg exercises -- and delivered using video-conferencing -- can improve leg recovery after stroke. After providing electronic consent (e-Consent), participants will take part in three virtual evaluation sessions in addition to the four-week tele-rehabilitation program via Zoom.

Once restrictions put in place during the pandemic are lifted, identified potential participants can be screened for all CanStroke trials, including FLOW (Fluoxetine to Open the Critical Period Time Window to Improve Motor Recovery After Stroke). FLOW involves a 'combination approach' -- the anti-depressant drug fluoxetine and exercise -- aimed at reopening the window of recovery for people with chronic stroke. A TMS add-on study is planned, looking at the added value of brain stimulation in the combination-therapy approach.

Other studies identified for the CanStroke Recovery Platform will begin when research efforts ramp up. 

This includes the RESTORE (Robot Enhanced Stroke Therapy Optimizes Rehabilitation) trial, led by Dr. Sean Dukelow at the University of Calgary/Hotchkiss Brain Institute. It will compare two intensities of robotic therapy for rehabilitation. It will be rolled out at the Calgary and UHN sites. 

Once things return to normal, CanStroke Recovery Platform project manager Josie Chundamala said new trials will be able to move along much more quickly because the platform is in place, training has been done, site agreements and data transfer agreements are in place, and the CanStroke Recovery Platform has made it easier and faster to get things up and running. "There is an efficient process," she said. "We know the steps involved."

Full details about who is involved in CanStroke and contact information for each project can be found HERE.