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U.Va. becomes part of national clinical trials group for neurological care

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The University of Virginia Health System is one of 28 hospitals participating in a national clinical trial group studying treatments of brain and neurological conditions.

“As a NeuroNEXT site, UVA and our collaborators will be actively engaged in exploring new treatments for adults and children with both common and uncommon neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis,” neurologist Dr. E. Clarke Haley, the principal investigator for NeuroNEXT at U.Va., said in a statement.

NeuroNEXT is sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. 

U.Va., the only Virginia member of the group, recently joined its first clinical trial to examine the effectiveness of a medication to treat progressive multiple sclerosis.

The trial is measuring the effectiveness of a new medication, ibudilast, for adults with progressive multiple sclerosis. Currently, there are only 10 approved medications for relapsing-remitting MS, where patients’ conditions worsen and stabilize, but there are none for patients with progressive MS.

“These medications have failed to demonstrate benefit in progressive MS patients who do not also have a relapsing or inflammatory component to their disease,” U.Va. neurologist Dr. Myla Goldman, director of UVA’s James Q. Miller Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, said. “There is a tremendous need to find a medication that can help this portion of the MS population.”

Volunteers in the trial will be either receive the medicine or a placebo twice a week for 96 weeks. The trial will measure the effectiveness of the medication.

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