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Blue Sky Award winners will be first to use ambulance-mounted portable scanners to monitor stroke patients en route to the hospital

Compliments of MUSC Catalyst News

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at MUSC has received an inaugural Blue Sky Award for their study to determine whether equipping ambulances with a portable MRI scanner could reduce the time to treatment for South Carolina stroke patients in a cost-effective way. The team is led by MUSC Health neuroradiologist Donna Roberts, M.D.,  a professor in the College of Medicine, and evaluation expert Jillian Harvey, Ph.D., an associate professor in the College of Health Professions at MUSC. The Blue Sky Award, which will provide $100,000 in funding to test the feasibility of the idea, was created to reward such creative, out-of-the-box thinking and cross-disciplinary collaborations.

When a patient experiences a stroke, the clock starts ticking for receiving effective, emergent care. For patients with strokes caused by blood clots, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), an important clot-busting drug, can help clear blocked vessels if given within a narrow time window. Because tPA carries a risk for increased bleeding, scans are needed before treatment to ensure that the stroke is not a brain bleed.

“We know that the faster we treat people, the better the outcomes and the lower the risk of complications from the tPA,” said MUSC Health stroke neurologist Christine Holmstedt, D.O., a professor in the College of Medicine and a collaborator on the project.

MUSC Health has worked to dramatically shorten its door-to-needle time – the time from when a patient enters the hospital until the tPA is infused. For example, stroke neurologists already conduct virtual pre-scan evaluations of patients en route to the hospital, shrinking the time to treatment from 40 to 20 minutes.  However, Roberts and her colleagues thought more could be done to cut the crucial time lost while patients are transported to the hospital.  Enjoy the complete article here, compliments of MUSC Catalyst News.

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Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.