Mayo Clinic neurologist receives distinguished national achievement award for stroke research


Neurologist Thomas Brott, M.D., the Eugene and Marcia Applebaum Professor of Neurosciences on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Research Achievement Award from the American Heart Association.

 He received the honor on Sunday, Nov. 12, during the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, California. The recognition rewards distinguished lifetime scientific achievement in the field of cardiovascular research.

“Dr. Brott has devoted his life to taking crucial questions raised in the clinical setting and finding answers through groundbreaking research discoveries that have been translated into better treatment for patients everywhere,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., vice president of Mayo Clinic and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. “Dr. Brott exemplifies Mayo Clinic’s approach to biomedical research, and we are very proud of him for providing patients with hope and answers.”

Brott’s wide-reaching research has focused on various aspects in the treatment of stroke. The American Heart Association gave the honor to Brott “for his pivotal role in the development of lifesaving interventions that have revolutionized treatment of acute ischemic stroke, with enormous, consequent benefits dramatically reducing stroke death and disability in the world’s population.”

According to John Warner, M.D. and president of the American Heart Association, “Dr. Brott has been at the forefront of an international medical revolution in dealing with stroke, a worldwide health scourge that is a major cause of death and disability that annually afflicts nearly 17 million individuals—more than 6 million of whom die.”

Brott was a leading investigator in the early studies that identified tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) as an effective treatment for acute ischemic stroke. He played a key role in designing the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, a quantitative rating still used in hospitals and clinics worldwide to measure neurologic deficits in stroke patients. His studies also looked at intracerebral hemorrhage and determined that the bleeding in the brain often continues during the first minutes and hours, offering opportunities for urgent treatment.

His work also investigated the efficacy and complication rates of various stroke treatments, including looking at complication rates of the surgery known as endarterectomy, which prevents strokes by widening arteries to the brain. In recent years, Brott has served as principal investigator for major multi-institutional clinical studies, comparing two major treatments for stroke. He developed and led the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy versus Stenting Trial (known as CREST), which followed patients at more than 100 medical centers throughout treatment and 10 years afterward.

“Mayo Clinic is extremely proud of Brott and his pioneering contributions to research in stroke and cerebrovascular disease,” says Tushar Patel, M.B., Ch.B. and dean for research at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. “His research has transformed the practice of medicine and has resulted in very significant advances in patient care.”

The American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions is the leading cardiovascular meeting for the nation’s researchers and clinicians. Four other Mayo Clinic scientists have received the award since its inception in 1953.