NIH extends neuroscience research network: UAB one of 25 members nationwide

UAB is renewed for another five years in NeuroNEXT, a national clinical research program in brain disorders.

standaart 2016David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D.The Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials, or NeuroNEXT, a research program that helps streamline Phase II clinical trials for brain disorders, has been renewed for five more years by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of 25 clinical sites participating in NeuroNEXT, and was one of the inaugural members of the network when first established in 2011.

“One of the advantages of NeuroNEXT, and something that makes it unique, is the network’s ability to quickly mobilize a group of specialists from a certain disease area to initiate a clinical study when opportunities emerge for trials,” said Robin Conwit, M.D., program director at NINDS. “The structure of NeuroNEXT, with its broad focus across neuroscience clinical studies, has the potential to reach many individuals who are affected by brain disorders.”  

UAB has been a clinical site for five of the nine NeuroNEXT studies: for multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, Huntington’s disease, glioblastoma multiforme and cryptogenic sensory peripheral neuropathy. UAB was the lead site for the glioblastoma multiforme study and referred patients to one other study of spinal muscular atrophy.

“NeuroNEXT has proved to be an efficient and effective way to quickly design and launch clinical studies across a wide landscape,” said David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D., John N. Whitaker Professor and chair of the Department of Neurology. “We are honored to have been a NeuroNEXT member since its inception and look forward to further collaborations with investigators across the country as we seek new ways to treat and cure neurologic diseases.”

NeuroNEXT was started in 2011 to make neuroscience clinical trials more efficient and to help increase the number of treatments that get into clinical practice. The program is designed to encourage collaborations between academic centers, disease foundations and industry. If a researcher is considering a Phase II clinical study, but does not have the experience to conduct it, he or she can apply to the NeuroNEXT program to leverage the resources available at the participating centers.

For example, NeuroNEXT centers can provide equipment, standardize data acquisition and analysis, or help with patient recruitment. In addition, since each study takes place simultaneously in several different clinical centers, it takes less time to enroll the targeted number of patients than would be the case with a single center study.

“To date, nine clinical trials currently in various stages have been implemented in the NeuroNEXT network, showing that this innovative approach to research can help expedite clinical research and help get treatments to patients faster,” said Codrin Lungu, M.D., NINDS program director. “We are thrilled to continue working with the sites that have been participating in the network, and we look forward to collaborating with the eight sites that will be joining the program.”

Read the full list of NeuroNEXT grantees.