The American Heart Association presented its 2017 Research Achievement Award to Thomas G. Brott, M.D., "for his pivotal role in the development of life-saving interventions that have revolutionized treatment of acute ischemic stroke, with enormous consequent benefits dramatically reducing stroke death and disability in the world's population."

Brott, of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, received the award, a citation and $2,500 honorarium, during Sunday's opening of the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2017, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians, which was held at the Anaheim Convention Center. AHA President John Warner, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, made the presentation.

"Dr. Brott has been at the forefront of an international medical revolution in dealing with stroke, a worldwide health scourge that is a major cause of death and disability that annually afflicts nearly 17 million individuals, more than six million of whom die," Warner said.

Prior to successful efforts by Brott and his fellow researchers, stroke was viewed as preventable but not treatable, the Association's president said. "But that was before Dr. Brott's team, in collaboration with the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS) and a small group of investigators around the country, began to develop, test and implement what proved to be the first scientifically proven treatment for ischemic stroke, one that utilized a technique called endovascular reperfusion therapy, with a new drug, tissue plasminogen activator, or t-PA." 

The drug was shown to be highly effective in breaking up blood clots causing stroke, with the work by Brott and his team playing a leading role in proving its usefulness, Warner said. "This triggered a major reorganization of stroke care delivery systems and the development of new tools to more reliably recognize its severity," he said. "Few medical scientists have contributed more to human well-being than Tom Brott."