Research teams at the Penn State College of Medicine and University Park campus have received grants from Penn State's Clinical and Translational Science Institute's (CTSI) recent Novel Methodologies in Health Research Program. Nine research projects received more than $400,000 from CTSI.

ESM professor Francesco Costanzo and his research team are developing a model for clot removal in the treatment of acute stroke. Clot removal following acute stroke is successful only in approximately 80 percent of cases with a good clinical outcome in only 50 percent of patients. Barriers to fast, effective cerebral thrombectomy arise due to the mechanical properties of clots and their adhesion to arterial walls. A promising new approach to clot removal from a cerebral artery has been proposed by the group working with Scott Simon, a neurosurgeon at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, in which the clot is attacked via an alternating pressure mediated through blood or saline until the thrombus, a fibrin polymer, fatigues, fractures, and dissipates.

Taking this new technique to clinical practice is challenging and cannot be done by simple “trial and error.” It is in these difficult cases that computer modeling can offer a way forward that cannot otherwise be found by intuition or trial-and-error. Simon (Co-PI) has joined forces with Costanzo (PI) and ESM professor Sulin Zhang (Co-PI), for the development of a computational model of the clot-artery system under cyclic loading as applied by a catheter. This award is a fantastic opportunity to bring together research in engineering and medicine to concretely advance technology in the operating room.