Imaging expert expands stroke trial’s horizon

Mar 9 2015

Dr Longting Lin and Dr Andrew Bivard .

Vital funding from the Greater Charitable Foundation has enabled the Hunter Region’s stroke team to further cement its international reach and reputation, with Chinese-born neurologist Longting Lin being appointed as Imaging Coordinator on the world-leading TASTE research study.

Dr Lin takes up the Greater Charitable Foundation Fellowship to replace Dr Andrew Bivard, who secured a prestigious and highly competitive Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to commence his own project while still working alongside Longting.

It continues a long and productive relationship between the Hunter Medical Research Institute and the Greater Charitable Foundation.

“The Greater Charitable Foundation Fellowship was instrumental in bringing Andrew Bivard to Newcastle to work on the TASTE trial,” chief investigator

Professor Mark Parsons said. “Without their support he would have moved to an international research institute and been lost to the region and Australia.

“It’s likely that Longting would also have taken her expertise overseas. She brings new skills to the role and is the ideal successor for Andrew as they have worked closely together and will continue to do so.”

With the Foundation’s backing for the initial Phase-II TASTE (Tenecteplase versus Alteplase for Stroke Thrombolysis Evaluation) trial the renowned stroke team was able to secure $4million in NHMRC funding last year to expand the clinical study.

“Andrew’s NHMRC position is even more good news for the region and further testimony to the value of seed funding,” Professor Parsons adds. “The Greater Building Society and its Foundation have a wonderful track record in supporting our young researchers and helping us to leverage federal funds.”

Dr Lin, 29, came to the University of Newcastle four years ago on an exchange program from Harbin Medical University in northern China. Mentored by Professor Parsons, Dr Bivard, Professor Chris Levi and Dr Neil Spratt, she has since perfected her skills in advanced CT perfusion brain-imaging.

Along with Dr Spratt, himself a former Greater Building Society Senior Research Fellow, Dr Lin has been investigating the use of hypothermia to prevent pressure elevation within the skull, reducing further brain injury and extending the potential treatment window for stroke patients. The Greater Charitable Foundation assisted with pilot funding for this project.

As the TASTE trial expands to stroke centres across Australia and globally to countries such as Taiwan, Dr Lin’s role of analysing patient scans and clinical data will be crucial to determining the efficacy of Tenecteplase over the standard clot-dissolving therapy Alteplase.

Her bilingual skills allow her to serve as an interpreter for the stroke team, opening new pathways throughout China and Taiwan.

“We aim to demonstrate that Tenecteplase is just as safe, if not safer, than the current clot-dissolving treatment, so this is an internationally important analysis,” Dr Lin said. “The project is very exciting and I thank the Greater Charitable Foundation for this opportunity.”

Dr Lin recently completed her PhD and has published a number of articles in international stroke journals, focusing on CT perfusion techniques. At last year’s Asian Pacific Stroke Conference she won the award for best oral presentation for a young investigator

The Greater Charitable Foundation has opened its 2015 funding round. Applications close Friday March 20. Visit www.greaterfoundation.org.au for more details.

* HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.