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Ongoing Research Studies


Phase 2 Study of Rasagiline for Treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

ALS Foundation, PI: Richard Barohn

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. The only FDA approved ALS drug, has only a modest neuroprotective effect. Rasagiline is approved for the symptomatic treatment of Parkinson's disease by the FDA. In addition to its symptomatic mechanism, however, rasagiline has broad neuroprotective activities against a variety of neurotoxins in neuronal cell cultures and in animal models. The aim of the study is to examine whether rasagiline could have an ALS disease-modifying effect as well.

Effect of Aerobic Exercise on Alzheimer's Pathophysiology in Preclinical AD (NIH R01)

NIH, PI: Jeffrey Burns

As population is increasingly aging, it becomes important to prevent Alzheimer's disease (AD). Approximately 30% of cognitively normal older adults have cerebral amyloidosis and meet research criteria for "preclinical AD." The study's purpose is to examine the effect of aerobic exercise on AD pathophysiology (amyloid burden) and associated "downstream" neurodegeneration (regional atrophy) and cognitive decline in preclinical AD.

Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Protocol ADNI2

NIH, PI: Jeffrey Burns

The purpose of this study is to look at how useful imaging studies and biomarkers tests are, together with measurements of memory, thinking and daily functioning, for future studies that will focus on identifying and treating Alzheimer's disease at an early stage.

Therapeutic Effect of Intranasal Insulin on Cognition, Function and AD Biomarker (sub of program grant to USC)

NIH via USC, PI: Jeffrey Burns

The overall purpose of this study is to better understand how insulin influences brain function in aging and Alzheimer's Disease. Functional MRI will be used to study how and where insulin works in the brains of both normal people and those with very mild Alzheimer's disease.

Glutathione as a measure of oxidative stress in magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in brains of multiple sclerosis patients

National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, PI: Sharon G. Lynch, MD (Co-Inv: In-Young Choi, PhD, Phil Lee, PhD)

The goal of this study is to measure glutathione (GSH) in the brains of patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) to understand the role of oxidative stress in the disease. Oxidative stress is an important component of the disease process, both in the animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS) and in MS itself. Measuring oxidative stress in the living person or animal has been very difficult in the past. GSH, a powerful antioxidant, may be lost in many diseases in which oxidative stress is implicated. GSH reduction may serve as an indicator of oxidative stress. We have developed a technique through magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) that can measure GSH levels in living brains. Using this technique, we have compared GSH levels in healthy individuals with patients with Alzheimers disease. We have found a reduction of GSH in patients compared to healthy individuals. We believe that a reduction in GSH may also be measured in people with Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) and that this can act as a marker in this disease process.


"A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study to Evaluate the Safety, Tolerability and Activity of Ibudilast (MN-166)  in Subjects with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis"

NIH, PI: Sharon Lynch
The Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials, or NeuroNEXT, was created to conduct studies of treatments for neurological diseases through partnerships with academia, private foundations, and industry. The network is designed to expand the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke's (NINDS) capability to test promising new therapies, increase the efficiency of clinical trials before embarking on larger studies, and respond quickly as new opportunities arise to test promising treatments for people with neurological disorders.

Kansas University Training Program in Neurological and Rehabilitation Sciences (NIH T32)

NIH, PI: Randolph Nudo

The aim of the program is to provide interdisciplinary practical training and theoretical instruction in translational research in basic and clinical aspects of neuroscience, especially as it applies to neurological conditions amenable to rehabilitative treatments. During the first round of funding, the program directly supported 12 full-time, pre-doctoral trainees and 40 short-term, summer trainees.

University of Kansas Alzheimer's Disease Core Center (NIH P30)

NIH, PI: Russell Swerdlow

Over the past five years the KU team has developed the infrastructure needed to host an ADCC. This infrastructure helps us pursue our principal aim of effectively and comprehensively supporting AD and AD-related research at KU. To this end KU ADCC services have already invigorated KU's AD research portfolio and we currently maintain a diverse portfolio of supported research projects. A second aim of the KU ADCC is to provide advanced services that enable and facilitate ground-breaking AD, AD-related, and brain aging metabolism research.

MRI-based Modeling to Evaluate Surgical Efficacy for Reduced OA Risk (NIH R01)

NIH, PI: Kenneth Fischer

This study focuses on translational research to implement in vivo MRI-based modeling in a human subjects study for radiocarpal contact analysis. The overall goal is to measure in vivo joint contact mechanics that occur during functional activities, as a means of evaluating the efficacy of surgical treatments for the scapholunate dissociation with regard to the risk of developing osteoarthritis (OA).

Trial of Oxaloacetate in Alzheimer's Disease (TOAD)

ALZ Association, PI: Russell Swerdlow

The primary objective of the TOAD trial is to determine the safety and tolerability of OAA at doses up to 2 g/day.  A dose escalation strategy will be used, which will involve first testing a 1 g/day OAA dose (500 mg po BID) taken for 4 weeks in 15 AD subjects.  If this dose proves to be safe, 2 g/day OAA (1000 mg po BID), taken for 4 weeks in 15 subjects, will be tested.  As part of the safety analysis, the following measures will be obtained: pre and post-treatment vital signs, safety labs, physical and neurological examinations, and cognitive testing data.  We predict both OAA treatment doses will prove to be safe and well-tolerated.

Kansas Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Research Center , U54 (KIDDRC)

NIH, PI: John Colombo, Peter Smith (KUMC PI)

The mission of the KIDDRC is to support high quality basic and applied research relevant to the causes and prevention of intellectual and developmental disabilities and the prevention and remediation of associated secondary conditions

Will the omega-3 fatty acid DHA prevent development of cognitive dysfunction due to chemotherapy

Breast Cancer Research Foundation, PI: Carol Fabian

Randomized, controlled pilot study of nicotinamide in PKD (R21)

NIH, PI: Alan Yu

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a common genetic disorder that causes cystic dilatation of the renal tubules and progressive kidney failure. There is currently no effective treatment. The overarching hypothesis of this proposal is that nicotinamide can inhibit SIRT1 deacetylase activity and safely and effectively retard cyst enlargement and disease progression in patients with PKD.

Kansas PKD Research and Translation Core Center (P30)

NIH, PI: James P Calvet

The Kansas PKD Research and Translation Core Center has an active and growing research base of outstanding PKD investigators on which it proposes to build innovative cores and a robust P&F program providing opportunities for new investigators to enter the PKD field and to conduct cutting-edge research. The central theme of this proposal is "Target identification for PKD therapy development."

Determination of Brain Levels of Anti‐Depressant and Anti‐Psychotic Drugs by Fluorine Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

CMH, PI: Steve Leeder

To establish research infrastructure and generate preliminary data demonstrating feasibility and proof-of-principle for aprogram investigating the relationship between concentration of anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medications commonly used in children, adolescents, and adults in plasma and in the brain. The intent is that the data generated will lead to submissions of collaborative research proposals seeking external funding for the program.

Psychosocial stress as a vulnerability factor for problem gambling

KU Research Investment Council Award, PI: Dave Jamalowicz

To bring together a multi-disciplinary team to systematically examine changes in the neurobiology of problem gambling and stress inhuman and animal studies. The purpose of this research study is to determine the neural/physiological correlates of risk taking in individuals suffering from gambling disorder relative to controls.

Taurine Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury in Aging (R21)

NIH, PI: Janna Harris

Aging exacerbates the response of the central nervous system to injury, leading to higher morbidity and mortality after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in elderly individuals compared with younger adults. Taurine, an abundant amino acid in the brain, has multiple neuroprotective properties including osmoregulation, anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic effects. Given the evidence that taurine can ameliorate brain edema, oxidative stress, and inflammation, and apoptosis - all mechanisms of injury that are worse in the aged brain - taurine is a promising novel treatment for TBI in the elderly. We propose a series of studies to establish the therapeutic efficacy of taurine and to confirm its mechanism(s) of action in aged rats after cortical contusion injury.

Reducing cellular damage in traumatic brain injury using ubiquinol (DoD)

DoD, PI: Janet Pierce

Modulating the Blood Brain Barrier to Improve Drug Delivery to the Brain (R01)

NIH, PI: Teruna Siahaan

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is the major obstacle to delivery of drugs to the brain for treating brain disorders. Our long-term goal is to improve the in vivo delivery of anticancer drugs to the brain. Our central hypothesis is that modulating the adherens junction of the BBB using E-cadherin peptides can enhance the porosity of the intercellular junctions and, thus, enhance the paracellular permeation of small and large anticancer drugs.

The role of periostin in polycystic kidney disease (R01)

NIH, PI: Darren Wallace

The purpose of this competitive renewal is to continue our ongoing investigation on the role of periostin on renal cyst enlargement and fibrosis in PKD and determine if integrin-linked kinase (ILK), a kinase regulated by periostin-binding to aV-integrins, is a pharmacological target for PKD. We hypothesize that periostin and possibly other matricellular proteins bind to aV-integrins and stimulate ILK, promoting proliferation and survival of cystic cells and aberrant expression of ECM molecules leading to fibrosis.

DHA Supplementation and Pregnancy Outcome

R01 HD047315 NICHD (KUDOS study): PI: Susan Carlson, PhD (Co-Inv: Kathleen Gustafson, PhD)

This research is designed to determine whether 600 mg of DHA a day will improve pregnancy outcomes and enhanced visual and cognitive performance in children up to 18 months of age. Dr. Gustafson serves as the vision scientist and electrophysiologist in this project and is responsible for obtaining sweep visual evoked potentials, visual stereoacuity and analyzing heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) from the cognitive tasks. 360 women will be enrolled in the study and will be randomized to DHA or placebo oil. Visual assessments will take place at 6 weeks, 4, 6, 9, 12 and 18 months of age. Cognitive assessments with ECG will take place at 4, 6, and 9 months of age. Dr. Gustafson is responsible for obtaining and analyzing the 3,240 data sets that will be generated from these 2 assessments and for reporting the results.

Prenatal DHA & Neurofunctional Development (R01)

NIH, PI: Kathleen Marie Gustafson

Pregnant women and infants are a public health priority and key to the mission of NICHD. Currently, there are no FDA recommendations for DHA supplementation during pregnancy. There is a critical need to learn whether prenatal maternal DHA insufficiency limits offspring neurodevelopment and whether this has a programming effect on the developing nervous system. Using our unique capability in both fetal and cortical MEG, we have the ability to provide insight, not only into fetal brain development and mechanisms underlying early cognitive function as related to DHA supplementation, but also to follow these children into infancy. If the aims of this proposal are achieved, it could lead to informed recommendations with respect to the appropriate use and effective dose of supplemental DHA and dietary recommendations during pregnancy, especially in populations where the nutritional status of the diet is suboptimal.

Investigation of Brain Changes Associated with a Behavioral Intervention for Smoking Cessation (ACS Grant)

American Cancer Society, PI: Laura E. Martin

The proposed study will examine the impact of practicing skills typically taught to help smokers quit smoking on these key brain regions. By examining changes in brain activation related to practicing skills needed to make a quit attempt, we will gain an understanding of what aspects of smoking interventions are essential for changing the brain. Findings from this study will inform smoking cessation treatment approaches and have significant implications for developing and testing more effective smoking treatments to help smokers successfully quit smoking. Overall, results of this work are highly relevant to cancer control and population health because they

Last modified: Jun 05, 2019