USC experts available to discuss stroke awareness

April 29, 2013

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 795,000 people in the United States have strokes each year. About 610,000 of these cases are first strokes, and 185,000 people who survive a stroke will have another stroke within five years. In recognition of Stroke Awareness Month in May, this source alert includes experts who can address various aspects of stroke incidence including epidemiology, clinical research and restorative surgeries.

Clinical Trials
Berislav V. Zlokovic, M.D., Ph.D., is professor and chair of the department of physiology and biophysics and director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. He is interested in understanding the role of cerebral blood vessels and the blood-brain barrier in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders like stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. He can address current clinical trials that have therapeutic implications for stroke and other neurological disorders. “My lab is working on a treatment using a novel drug, 3K3A-APC, that provides, for the first time, a treatment strategy that targets the entire neuromuscular unit,” said Zlokovic. “Phase 1 human studies have been completed successfully, and a Phase 2 study in ischemic stroke patients receiving 3K3A-APC and tPA is planned to begin at the end of 2013.” He can be contacted through the Media Relations Office at (323) 442-3941 or

Restorative Neurosurgery
Charles Y. Liu, M.D., Ph.D., is associate professor of neurological surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and chair of the Department of Surgery at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. He is interested in understanding surgical strategies that restore function to the nervous system after injury due to trauma, stroke, or other neurodegenerative diseases. He can address the future of restorative neurosurgery and its implications for stroke patients. “Cutting-edge concepts in bioengineering and neuroscience are driving developments in restorative clinical neuroscience to greatly expand our ability to restore function in stroke patients,” said Liu. Contact him at (323) 226-7421 or

Stroke Epidemiology
Amytis Towfighi, M.D., is assistant professor of neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and chair of the Department of Neurology at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. Her research interests include stroke epidemiology and health services implementation. She can discuss national patterns in stroke incidence and improvements in stroke outcomes. “Stroke recently declined from the third to the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. This promising trend likely reflects improvements in blood pressure control and stroke care in the U.S.,” said Towfighi. “However, obesity and increased rates of Type 2 diabetes are threatening improvements in stroke prevention. In addition, there are important race/ethnic and sex disparities in stroke occurrence and treatment that need to be addressed.” Contact her at (310) 895-1361 or

Keck Medicine of USC encompasses the University of Southern California’s medical school and clinical enterprise. It consists of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the Keck Medical Center of USC.

Contacts: Leslie Ridgeway at (323) 442-2823 or; Alison Trinidad at (323) 442-3941 or