First STAR Symposium brings together best and brightest minds in world of stroke and aneurysm treatment

May 09, 2023
Surgeon Alex Spiotta stands on stage giving a TEDx talk in front of a large projection screen with an image of an MRI of a human skull
MUSC neurosurgeon Dr. Alejandro Spiotta presents during this year's TEDx conference. He spoke about the concept of being in the "zone" or "flow state." Provided

MUSC neurosurgeon Alejandro Spiotta, M.D., exudes confidence. But for all of his expertise in treating strokes and aneurysms, he still lives by the mantra that “Everybody can always use help at something, no matter how good they are.”

That’s why he and his colleagues founded STAR – the Stroke Thrombectomy and Aneurysm Registry – a little less than four years ago. Its aim: To bring together some of the world’s foremost experts in the field so they could track patient outcomes using data from real-world practice. What started as a collaboration of roughly 25 institutions has quickly grown to more than 100. Together, they wield the data of 15,000-plus patients. 

On Thursday, May 11, Spiotta and some of the best and brightest minds from the registry will come together for the first STAR Symposium – to be held right here in Charleston. 

“We’ve got people coming from all over the globe,” Spiotta said.

Blue and red logo with the words "STAR" written on it 

On tap is a full day of scientific talks on topics ranging from novel ways to deal with brain injuries to the future of technology in neurosurgery. Best described as a “high-level think tank,” the event will not only feature surgeons and researchers but also founders, CEOs and research leaders of companies specializing in the fields of artificial intelligence, imaging and genomics, just to name a few. Their presence is mission critical to supporting the needs of the STAR collaborators as they explore new avenues of research into patient selection, treatment and outcomes.

“This is going to be beneficial for all of us who are involved, not just the presenters,” Spiotta said. “This is an opportunity for people to bring new ideas to the table in a face-to-face setting, and I expect great things will come from it.”

Spiotta said many of those who will be in attendance already have great ideas, “but they’ll be 10 times better after this.”

Nearly 30 people plan to present, and nearly a dozen corporate partners will be on hand for what Spiotta hopes may become a regular thing. In fact, he said he’d love to see the event eventually rotate to different countries all over the world, exposing all of its members to different cultures and experiences. The first STAR Symposium begins this Thursday, at 6:30 a.m., with a 4-mile run before launching into the day of presentations.

“We’re going to see how this goes,” he said. “But I suspect this might just be the beginning of something special.”

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