2016 Innovation Award: Dr. Stephen Lownie

Dr. Steve Lownie is a neurosurgeon and neurointerventionalist, with a primary interest in vascular diseases of the brain. He was honoured with the 2016 Lawson Innovation Award for his recent publication titled, “Catheter Based Selective Hypothermia Reduces Stroke Volume during Focal Cerebral Ischemia in Swine,” published in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery.

Hypothermia has been studied and applied for many years as a way to prevent tissue damage after ischemic insults to the brain or other organs. With current treatments, doctors have about 2-3 hours after a stroke begins to administer the drug tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, which breaks up the blood clots that cause a stroke. Timely treatment is crucial; for every hour lost in stroke treatment, the brain loses neurons equivalent to more than three years of normal aging. Dr. Lownie and his team have developed a dual lumen catheter which provides a safe way to selectively cool a brain hemisphere, instead of the entire brain.

Selective brain cooling may increase the number of people who can benefit from these newer stroke treatments by protecting the brain for a few more extra precious hours. With cooling, doctors could potentially increase the treatment window to five or six hours, resulting in better patient outcomes for hundreds of stroke patients.

Lawson’s Innovation Award

The Innovation Award recognizes outstanding researchers for a publication or an awarded patent that demonstrates innovation (discovery + implementation/impact). All publications/patents are evaluated on the following five criteria: discovery; influence of the findings in the field of research; demonstrated evidence that these findings will change or improve understanding; impact of the research on the lives of patients; and how the research supports Lawson’s strategic vision.