Award of Excellence and Innovation in IR

Since its establishment in 2012, the Award of Excellence and Innovation in Interventional Radiology has been given to some of the most innovative physicians in the field.

This year, two winners have been chosen from among the 24 very deserving applicants; great innovators who have paved the way for a completely new strategy in acute ischemic stroke management with a ground-breaking invention and a high-class clinical trial.

At the CIRSE 2017 opening ceremony Hans Henkes will receive the award for the invention of the Solitaire Stent and the MRCLEAN trialists represented by Wim H. van Zwam and R. van Oostenbrugge will be honoured for the MRCLEAN Trial. 

Winner 2017
Hans Henkes, for the invention of the Solitaire™ Stent for intracranial stent thrombectomy

Prof. Hans Henkes from Germany has gained great reputation for his pioneering work in cerebral stent thrombectomy. In 2004 he invented the Solitaire™ Stent, which was initially designed for the treatment of cerebral aneurysms. Incidentally he found out that it could also be applied for the removal of intracranial thrombi and performed the first successful intracranial stent thrombectomy in Europe in 2008. This stent retriever represented a considerable improvement in acute ischemic stroke management compared to other thrombectomy devices available at that time. The SolitaireTM Stent became an international patent in 2004, followed by the US patent in 2014. It has since saved thousands of lives and prevented countless cases of stroke-related handicap.

About the invention

The Solitaire™ device is comprised of a nitinol scaffolding design attached to a guidewire. After being delivered through a micro catheter, it is deployed across a clot and removed along with the clot to enable revascularization of the occluded intracranial vessel.

If applied within 8 hours of symptom onset, the Solitaire™ can remove the thrombus from a large intracranial occlusion and restore blood flow to a degree that will allow nearly 70% relative improvement in functional outcomes at 90 days.

About the inventor

Since his graduation from medical school in 1987, Prof Hans Henkes has held several clinical positions throughout Germany, including that of First Assistant Medical Director at the Clinic of Radiology and Neuroradiology at the Alfred Krupp Krankenhaus in Essen and that of Medical Director for Radiology and Neuroradiology at the Robert Janker Clinic in Bonn. Since 2007 he has been the Medical Director of the Neuroradiological Clinic at Stuttgart’s Katharinenhospital. He has published more than 240 articles, mostly focussing on neuroradiology, neurological diseases, neurodegeneration and intracranial aneurysms. His papers have been cited over 4,000 times. 

Winner 2017
The MRCLEAN Trialists, for the Multicenter Randomized Clinical Trial of Endovascular Treatment for Acute Ischemic Stroke in the Netherlands represented by Wim H. van Zwam and Robert van Oostenbrugge

About the MRCLEAN trial

The MRCLEAN trial, published to great acclaim in the New England Journal of Medicine on January 1st, 2015, was the first randomized controlled trial showing a clear benefit of endovascular treatment in acute ischemic stroke. The 2-year outcome published on April 6, 2017, also in the NEJM, confirmed the beneficial effect of endovascular treatment.

Designed as a randomized controlled trial of intra-arterial treatment versus no intra-arterial treatment in patients with a proximal intracranial arterial occlusion, five hundred patients were randomized between December 2010 and April 2014 in 16 centres in the Netherlands. Functional outcome at 90 days as well as secondary clinical outcomes showed a clear benefit for the intervention group. Contrary to previous studies which could not demonstrate preferability of endovascular intervention over standard treatment, during the MRCLEAN trial the latest generation of thrombectomy devices (stent retrievers, including the Solitaire™ Stent) were used, significantly changing the outcome in favour of endovascular treatment. Within less than one year this has resulted in the worldwide adaptation of guidelines incorporating endovascular treatment as standard treatment.

About the MRCLEAN Trialists

The MRCLEAN trial is a joint interdisciplinary study comprising neurology, neuroradiology, radiology and interventional/neurointerventional radiology.

The MRCLEAN trialists include six principal investigators together with the three (shared) first authors from the Universities of Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Maastricht: Drs Puck Franssen, Prof Diederik Dippel and Prof Aad van der Lugt from the Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam; Drs Olvert Berkhemer, Prof Yvo Roos and Prof Charles Majoie from the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam and Drs Debbie Beumer, Prof Robert van Oostenbrugge and Dr Wim van Zwam from the Maastricht University Medical Center.

The trialists are represented by Dr Wim van Zwam, interventional radiologist and head of neuro-interventional radiology at Maastricht University Medical Center, and Prof Robert van Oostenbrugge, neurologist and head of neurology at the same hospital.

This initiative is kindly sponsored by the Rolf W. Günther Foundation for Radiological Sciences, www.rwguenther-stiftung.de