Preclinical ischemic stroke is at the crossroads in search of reliable and robust simulation models as past experiences with their translation from the laboratory to the standard of clinical care have often been disappointing. The efficacy of neuroprotective agents is still elusive, and the use of thrombolytics alone is limited to the narrow time window of presentation from the onset of the deficit. Hence, the focus has shifted to interventional revascularization to salvage the parenchyma at the risk of infarction. As the burden of disease morbidity and mortality is so enormous, neurointerventionalists have adopted a more aggressive approach to mechanical revascularization with the limited approved tools available—the Penumbra and the MERCI retrieval system, and the recently incorporated stent retrievers. In fact, the interventional space is among the fastest growing fields in stroke research today. Assessing treatment efficacy in these scenarios is infinitely complex as the heterogeneity of the cerebrovasculature, physical and mechanical nature of the occlusive embolus and the time of presentation are all confounders in assessing treatment outcomes. As no single thromboembolic model is apt to address all of these questions, an integrated methodology with a combination of both in vitro and in vivo assessment needs to be adopted. This involves clinically relevant thromboembolic analogs in device evaluation in vascular replicas, thromboembolic stroke induction in large animal gyrencephalic ischemic stroke models for thrombolytic, imaging and neuroprotection research and a native cerebrovascular target for evaluation of the safety and efficacy of mechanical thrombectomy devices.
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