Report from the World Stroke Congress 2018

by Else Charlotte Sandset and Eivind Berge

The World Stroke Congress 2018 kicked off with pre-congress workshop targeting young investigators interested in clinical trials. The workshop initiated by Andrew Demchuk on behalf of the Global Alliance of Independent Networks focused on Stroke trials (GAINS) and WSO gathered 100 participants from 22 countries from 6 continents! We started with presentations describing opportunities and clinical trial networks from around the globe, including Else Charlotte Sandset presenting ESOTA and opportunities for young investigators within ESO. Urs Fischer, Pooja Kathri and Nikola Sprigg took us through their career journey so far, describing the lucky breaks, the persistence and hard work, and the importance of arenas to unwind. Craig Anderson talked about design flaws to avoid in trials he knows, and Julie Bernhardt inspired us with the talk “Why it is great to be a multi-center clinical trialist.” The day stimulated networking and interaction with several breakout sessions and ended with a social mixer.

ESOTA was also presented at the congress itself, in the session “GAINS Stroke Research Networks”. Eivind Berge informed about the work of the ESO Trials Network Committee to establish ESOTA. ESOTA aims to support stroke research collaboration, education, communication and advocacy in Europe.  The main focus is on randomised clinical trials in stroke acute care, prevention and recovery. Since the start at ESOC 2017, five national stroke research networks have joined, and more are expected to join within the next year.The aim of advocacy of stroke in Europe has been met with a response to the EU Horizon2020 funding call for 2019 (and coordinated the responses from several national stroke organisations). Finally, the ESOTA website has been established (www.eso-trialsalliance.org), and a full-day meeting and an educational symposium is being planned during ESOC 2019.