University of Virginia Health System is now one of 28 hospitals in the U.S. participating in NeuroNEXT – the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials – investigating treatments for 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,” said neurologist E. Clarke Haley, MD, the principal investigator for NeuroNEXT at UVA. Most of the treatments would be available only through a clinical trial.”
UVA is the only member in Virginia of NeuroNEXT, which is sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health. UVA recently joined its first clinical trial through the network to examine the effectiveness of a medication to treat progressive multiple sclerosis.
Evaluating a Potential MS Treatment
Multiple sclerosis (MS) occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy nerves, causing a range of disabilities. For patients with progressive MS – marked by a slow, steady worsening of their condition – no effective treatments are now available. By comparison, there are 10 approved medications are available for relapsing-remitting MS, where patients have periods when their condition worsens and periods when their condition stabilizes.
“These medications have failed to demonstrate benefit in progressive MS patients who do not also have a relapsing or inflammatory component to their disease,” said UVA neurologist Myla Goldman, MD, director of UVA’s James Q. Miller Multiple Sclerosis Clinic. “There is a tremendous need to find a medication that can help this portion of the MS population.”
The SPRINT-MS trial offered through NeuroNEXT will measure the effectiveness of a new medication, ibudilast, in adults ages 21-65 with progressive MS. Trial volunteers will be randomly placed into one of two groups and receive either ibudilast or a placebo twice a week for 96 weeks. The trial will measure the effectiveness of the medication by using brain imaging to measure patients’ loss of brain tissue, a key measure of how MS progresses.