UA team part of breakthrough research on Parkinson's disease

A team of scientists including researchers at the University of Alabama has identified a chemical compound that helps enhance a brain cell’s ability to combat the effects of blocks formed by a protein linked to Parkinson’s Disease.

The collaborative research was led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology biology professor Susan Lindquist, along with researchers at UA, Harvard University, Purdue University and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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NeuroNEXT is pleased to announce funding for our third approved trial: "Rituximab in Myasthenia Gravis".

Richard J. Nowak, MD, MS, Yale University School of Medicine, is the Protocol Principal Investigator for the study “A Phase II Trial of Rituximab in Myasthenia Gravis” (NN103). Other primary investigators include Drs. Jonathan M. Goldstein, Richard J. Barohn, Mazen M. Dimachkie, Kevin C. O’Connor and David A. Hafler.

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder of neuromuscular transmission with an estimated annual incidence of about 1-2 per 100,000 and prevalence as high as 20-50 per 100,000. Treatment consists of symptomatic therapy with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and immunotherapy such as corticosteroids, azathioprine, cyclosporine, plasma exchange (PLEX) and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). Despite current therapies a subset of patients remain medically refractory or have intolerable medication adverse effects. There is need for another agent in the management of MG as there are few effective drugs.

This research study is being conducted to determine the safety, tolerability and activity of rituximab administered in two four-week infusion cycles separated by six months in subjects with myasthenia gravis. The study will be conducted by the NINDS-funded Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT) at NeuroNEXT sites around the United States. Fifty participants age 21 and older will be enrolled. The Clinical Coordination Center is at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Data Coordination Center is at the University of Iowa.

The following fifteen institutions have been selected to participate in the study:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine Yeshiva University

Weill Cornell Medical Center

Ohio State University

University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of California - Davis

University of California - Los Angeles

University of Cincinnati

University of Colorado Denver

University of Kansas Medical Center

University of Miami School of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh

University of Rochester

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

University of Virginia - Charlottesville

Yale University

The study intervention is provided by Genentech Pharmaceuticals.

For more information related to the University of Alabama at Birmingham site please contact Shirley Gibbs at 205-975-0447.

Alabama chicken farmer glad UAB will study mysterious muscle-twisting disease triggered in him by tornado

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- When a tornado hit his home during the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak, James Edward, a Marshall County chicken farmer feared for his family's safety and his community.

As volunteer fire chief, there was a lot to do and the pain in his neck took a back seat.

He thought he had pulled a muscle. Turned out it was the onset -- perhaps triggered by the stress of the tornado -- of a somewhat mysterious but not uncommon condition called dystonia.

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Center of Excellence designation will boost dystonia research and care at UAB

A grant from The Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation will establish new Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson’s Disease Centers of Excellence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and two other major medical centers. The centers will be funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Foundation.

bachmann strauss logoUAB will open its Bachmann-Strauss Center of Excellence on Sept. 17, 2013, followed by centers at the University of Florida and the University of California San Francisco. The new centers will join the existing Center of Excellence at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.

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