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Did you know approximately one person has a stroke every 10 minutes in Australia? Stroke is the third leading cause of death and around 1 in 6 of us will have a stroke during our lifetime. These frightening statistics are the reason why research in this area is so important, and a cure for stroke could be closer than we think thanks to the talented doctors and nurses dedicating their lives to conducting vital research in this area.

Meet Jennifer (Jenni) Cranefield who is the passionate Clinical Trials Coordinator for the stroke unit at the Clinical Trials Centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), proudly supported by The Hospital Research Foundation and charitable affiliate Cure for Stroke Australia.

Working alongside Roy Drew, who is also part of the stroke unit, they manage all stroke clinical trials, giving hope to those who have been impacted by a stroke.

“My day is filled with reviewing patients participating in the clinical trials, conducting clinical trial review visits within the research centre or within the community or rehabilitation setting, depending on patient needs.” Ms Cranefield said.

“I also review the overall trial management and am available 24/7 for patients if they ever have an enquiry about the trial they are taking part of. This gives them a sense of security, knowing someone is available to talk through their concerns or questions at any time. I am busy all the time but I love it.”

Being in her role for four years now, Ms Cranefield has seen incredible results and improvement in patient care.

“The first significant change was extending the time window that thrombolysis could be given from three hours to four and a half hours. This means more people are eligible to receive this potentially lifesaving drug when suffering a stroke,” Ms Cranefield said.

“Another significant outcome was the introduction of endovascular thrombectomy (a mechanical blood clot retrieval process) as both an adjunctive therapy and a stand-alone treatment for acute ischaemic strokes caused by large vessel blockages.”

Sadly, Ms Cranefield knows the struggles and impacts a stroke can have not only on the patient but also their family and friends too.

“When a loved family member suffered a severe stroke ten years ago with few treatment options available to him that made a huge impact on me. Comparing the care, prevention and treatment methods between then and now, knowing I’m playing my part in improving outcomes for stroke survivors brings me a huge amount of joy,” Ms Cranefield said.

“I am very proud to say we’ve already helped to reshape stroke treatments and outcomes in the few years I have worked in the field. I am delighted and honoured to work with such a passionate and dedicated team who strive to make a significant difference in the lives of others every day.”

Ms Cranefield is just one of the many people who dedicate their time to saving the lives of those who suffer a stroke. Today, thanks to their research, one in three stroke patients now have improved outcomes from a stroke.

If you would like to know more information about stroke clinical trials or how to be involved you can email HealthRAHStrokeTrials@sa.gov.au.