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One-Of-A-Kind Brain Vasculature Simulator, New Angiography System Highlight SBUMC Cerebrovascular Center Expansion

One-Of-A-Kind Brain Vasculature Simulator, New Angiography System Highlight SBUMC Cerebrovascular Center Expansion

Development of a Research Center to Benefit Treatment for Stroke, Other Vascular Anomalies

STONY BROOK, N.Y., March 8, 2011 – The Cerebrovascular Center (CVC) at Stony Brook University Medical Center has expanded its clinical and research capabilities for the treatment of acute stroke, brain aneurysms, and other cerebrovascular anomalies. With the establishment of a Cerebrovascular Research Center (CRC), the dedicated CVC team is using some of the most sophisticated technologies – a neuroendovascular simulator that recreates vasculature of the brain and multi-axis angiography – to diagnose, treat, and investigate cerebrovascular diseases.

Cerebrovascular diseases and neurological events such as stroke and aneurysms strike people of all ages but particularly the aging population. Reflecting much of the nation, Long Island’s population continues to age. Stroke alone is the number three cause of death behind heart attack and cancer in the U.S. Every four minutes someone dies from a stroke.

At a special 2010 commemorative ceremony, SBUMC leadership, the CVC team, patients and their families came together to celebrate the expansion of the CVC and the new technologies. Patients also shared their stories of survival and recovery from stroke and other severe neurological events after being treated at Stony Brook’s CVC. Read patient stories in their own words.

Attendees caught a glimpse of future advances for diagnosing and treating cerebrovascular diseases at Stony Brook by viewing a one-of-a-kind neuroendovascular simulator that recreates vasculature in the brain, including scenarios of damaged vessels due to cerebrovascular anomalies. The simulator incorporates a liquid that acts like real blood within the vessels. It is also supported by the Artis zeego, the most sophisticated fluoroscopic imaging technology and the only robotically powered multi-axis angiography imaging technology in the region dedicated solely to research. 

Affectionately known in the CRC as “Headley,” the simulator is co-invented by biomedical engineer B. Barry Lieber, PhD, Director of the CRC, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on brain vasculature. “Headley” demos were presented by Dr. Lieber along with Dr. Henry Woo, the Director of the CVC a cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgeon and Dr. David Fiorella, Director of Interventional Neuroradiology. 

“By creating many scenarios of cerebrovascular disease with ‘Headley,’ then figuring out how to fix these vascular anomalies by manipulating the model, we will profoundly impact research, teaching, diagnosis and treatment of neurovascular disease,” says Dr. Lieber.

“The simulator is a research tool that will provide us with further clinical insight to treating cerebrovascular anomalies to the point where, in certain cases, we will be able to map out an actual patient’s condition on Headley first, then ‘perform’ the operation of the simulator to perfection before the actual procedure,” explains Dr. Woo.

The simulator is one of several cutting-edge developments of the CRC. It will serve as a teaching and research tool to be used in conjunction with the Artis zeego system. Powered by advanced robotic technology, the system provides virtually unrestricted capabilities for imaging neurological vasculature of stroke, brain aneurysms, arteriovenus malformations (AVMs), and other cerebrovascular abnormalities. 

While creating one aneurysm scenario on the simulator, Dr. Fiorella pinpointed the region of the aneurysm for Headley, and then approached treatment as if Headley were a person. With the imaging and multi-axis angiography system, Dr. Fiorella quickly treated and coiled the aneurysm.

“The vasculature of this simulator is remarkable. It feels and reacts exactly like human vessels,” says Dr. Fiorella. “Because of these characteristics and the vast imaging capabilities, we can improve upon many treatment approaches and decide which devices would be most effective before incorporating them into practice.”

“The use of the simulator and cutting-edge imaging technologies, combined with the expertise of Stony Brook’s Cerebrovascular Center physicians and researchers in the Neurosciences, is a wonderful example of the collaborative power within an academic medical center to discover new and better ways to treat such devastating diseases,” says Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., Senior Vice President of the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine. 

“The Center’s collaborators will apply what they learn in the laboratory to better understand what causes cerebrovascular disease,” adds Dr. Kaushansky, “as well as train the next generation of cerebrovascular disease specialists.”

“The development of the Cerebrovascular Center has been four-to-five years in the making, with the recruitment of a number of very talented experts, adding new technologies, and creating a program that integrates research and translates results into clinical medicine to advance care and help improve the quality of life for people in our community,” says Steven Strongwater, M.D., CEO, Stony Brook University Hospital. 

New technologies acquired by SBUMC within the past year broaden the Center’s diagnostic and treatment capabilities.  These include top line imaging technologies, a 320-slice CT, the multi-axis angiography system, and the neuroendovascular simulator. 

“Our establishment of the Cerebrovascular Center as a comprehensive clinical and research program for the diagnosis and treatment of acute stroke, brain aneurysms, atherosclerosis, and AVMs, plus the implementation of the latest simulator and imaging technologies, are direct responses to the growing health care needs of the Suffolk County population and beyond,” adds Raphael Davis, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery and Co-Director of the Institute for Advanced Neurosciences. 
Dr. Woo and colleagues perform every FDA-approved minimally invasive stroke interventional technique in the United States. 

Among routine procedures include surgical and endovascular treatment of aneurysms, stenting of narrowed or blocked arteries of the brain and carotid arteries, carotid endarterectomy, obliteration of AVMs, mechanical thrombectomy for blocked brain arteries and intracranial bypass procedures.

About the Cerebrovascular Center at Stony Brook University Medical Center

The Cerebrovascular Center at Stony Brook University Medical Center has a dedicated team with the expertise needed to diagnose and treat a wide range of cerebrovascular diseases including arteriovenous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, hemorrhagic strokes, ischemic strokes, atherosclerosis, and carotid stenosis. The Center offers a multidisciplinary team of neurologists, interventional neuroradiologists, and cerebrovascular neurosurgeons who are committed to excellence in patient care, research, and education.
The CVC is home to an active clinical trials unit supported by three clinical research coordinators and an NIH funded engineering and tissue laboratory. The clinical and translational research is funded by more than two dozen research grants and the Center enrolls patients or participates in virtually all of the major trials that are currently underway in the U.S. As a result, patients have access to a wide variety of devices that are currently experimental but are available only through a research trial or a “compassionate use” basis to patients who have otherwise untreatable conditions.
The CVC use a multidisciplinary, team-based approach, state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, and the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to accurately diagnose your cerebrovascular disorder and design a treatment plan that is individualized to your unique circumstances. 
Located on Level 4 of the Hospital, state-of-the-art facilities in the CVC include high-speed computed tomography (CT), MRI, biplane angiography equipment and a new $14 million cerebrovascular biplane suite, which  enables quick and accurate diagnoses so that critical treatment can begin as soon as possible. Practitioners are supported by a comprehensive support staff of physician assistants, technologists, and administrative assistants and work in a full complement of modern treatment rooms, including two neurointerventional procedure rooms, a neurological suite, and advanced operating rooms. 


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