October 21, 2011
By KUMC News
|Richard J. Barohn, MD|
The University of Kansas Medical Center has been selected as one of just 25 sites nationwide to participate in the newly created Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT), a federally funded group of research institutions that will work to speed up the development of new treatments for neurological disorders.
Funded by a seven-year $2.1 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health, KUMC will work with institutions nationwide to test new medications and treatments in diverse populations around the country. KUMC will also partner locally with the pediatric neurology department at Children's Mercy Hospital and with KU's Life Span Institute and Child Development Center on the Lawrence campus.
"Once again, the National Institutes of Health is recognizing the excellence of our research by selecting our scientists to take part in a national effort to speed the development of cures for diseases of the brain and nerves," said Barbara Atkinson, MD, Executive Vice Chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center.
This award adds to KUMC's recent string of success in raising its national research prominence. In June 2011, KUMC joined an elite group of 60 universities when the NIH awarded it a $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award. In August, KUMC was awarded a $6 million grant designating it as an Alzheimer's Disease Center, one of just 29 institutions in the country. "Becoming part of the NeuroNEXT network demonstrates that our investigators are national leaders in neurological research," Atkinson said.
"We have patients in the region who are committed to participating in national studies that will lead us to better treatments for neurological disorders," said Richard J. Barohn, MD, Chair of the KUMC Department of Neurology and director of KUMC's NeuroNEXT research group, the Heartland Unit for Neuroscience Trials (HUNT). "The Heartland Unit for Neuroscience Trials will collaborate with local and national scientists to bring leading-edge clinical trials to Kansas City," said Jeffrey Burns, MD, co-director of the program. "Our goal is to speed the development of effective therapies for diseases of the nervous system."
Some trials will take place in KU's new Clinical Research Center in Fairway, created specifically to house early phase clinical trials and scheduled to open early next year.
The NeuroNEXT network is designed to increase the efficiency and quality of neuroscience clinical trials, to recruit and retain patients for such trials, and to encourage public-private partnerships in the pursuit of cures and treatments. Chosen for their clinical trials expertise and available patient populations, the NeuroNEXT sites were announced on October 3: