Physician-scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein, have secured a grant to establish a clinical site for the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT).
One of only 25 such federally-funded centers in the country, the Einstein-Montefiore site was created in partnership with Einstein affiliates Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan and the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.
The NeuroNEXT network and its centers were established with grants from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.
This was created to facilitate Phase II clinical trials for rare neurological diseases, which face significant challenges securing funding from industry, as well as with recruiting and retaining participants. (Phase II trials are conducted to assess how well and at what frequency and dosage a drug delivers effective results.)
These hurdles often prove insurmountable. By establishing a pre-existing network of sites and streamlining cumbersome logistics, the NeuroNEXT network and their centers aim to change that.” – Shlomo Shinnar M.D.
Despite the difficulties in initiating these studies, significant advances have been made in recent years in the understanding and treatment of unusual neurological disorders.
“While common diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have been slow to give up their secrets, real progress has been made in discovering the origins of – and therapies for – rare neurological diseases.” – Mark Mehler M.D. professor Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology Einstein
“While this initiative offers us an opportunity to dramatically change the lives of patients with these rare diseases, the findings are also likely to provide insight into more common neurological disorders, like migraine and stroke, which affect millions of people.”
The Einstein-NeuroNEXT includes over 150 adult neurologists and 25 pediatric neurologists who serve an unusually diverse population base of over 8 million. Einstein’s clinical affiliates have neurological expertise across all age groups – children, adults and geriatrics. Each year, these affiliates assess over 35,000 individual neurology patients, including more than 10,000 pediatric neurology patients.
Each clinical site boasts special clinical expertise, including the Sleep-Wake Center and Rett Syndrome Center at Montefiore, Beth Israel’s Bachman-Strauss Dystonia Center of Excellence and North Shore-LIJ’s work with Huntington’s Disease at the Cushing Movement Disorders Institute.
“In addition to the breadth and strength of our center’s expertise in rare neurological disorders, the success of our application was aided by the existence of the NIH-funded Einstein-Montefiore Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and the newly established Office of Clinical Trials” – Richard Lipton M.D.
NeuroNEXT centers are encouraged to submit their proposals for clinical trials to the network for evaluation. The inaugural study will focus on spinal muscular atrophy and recruitment will begin this year.