Swedish Awarded Major National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant for Brain Disorders Research

Published: Nov 14, 2011

Only Pacific Northwest member of a national consortium of 25 neuroscience centers chosen to participate

SEATTLE, Nov. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) has been selected by the National Institutes of Health as the Pacific Northwest member of a national consortium of 25 neuroscience centers that will conduct clinical research studies on a variety of brain-related diseases. SNI received a seven-year, $2.2 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), through a competitive selection process. The NeuroNEXT program at Swedish Neuroscience Institute will be led by Associate Chief Medical Director and Director of Neurology, John W. Henson, M.D., F.A.A.N., and Director of Research Dan Rizzuto, Ph.D.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111110/DC04985 )

"The strength of our clinical programs and investment in research infrastructure in the neurosciences made SNI a strong candidate for this center designation," said Dr. Henson. He noted that the major challenge for the NeuroNEXT consortium will be to translate discoveries about neurological diseases into improvements in health, while pushing the frontiers of basic research forward. Many serious neurological disorders will become more common as the U.S. population ages.

"Our research program is focused on discoveries that can be directly applied to patient care," said Dr. Rizzuto. "Everything we do is geared toward solving some problem or improving the quality of life for those who have a complex neurological disease. Participation in the NeuroNEXT consortium is a natural addition to our existing efforts." He noted that SNI has more than 80 active clinical research projects under way now in 10 different neurological diseases.

"NeuroNEXT will expand the capability to test the most promising new therapies for a wide range of neurological disorders affecting children and adults," said Elizabeth McNeil, M.D., the NIH/NINDS program director who will oversee the program. "Through 25 clinical sites across the U.S., as well as a clinical- and a data-coordinating center, NIH will provide the expertise and infrastructure needed to rapidly assess treatment options as they become available from both academic and industry investigators."

Marc Mayberg, M.D., chief medical director at SNI said, "I believe SNI was selected because of its broad areas of specialization, the track record of quality research by SNI investigators, and the high volume of patients with neurological and neurosurgical disorders treated at Swedish Neuroscience Institute."

Drs. Henson and Rizzuto along with other SNI staff will attend a kickoff meeting on Friday, Nov. 18 at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC. According to NIH, the first study will investigate a rare but devastating condition in pediatric patients called spinal muscular atrophy. The NeuroNEXT consortium hopes to identify biomarkers that improve diagnostic testing, track disease progression, and permit assessment of the effectiveness of new therapies. Identifying biomarkers for spinal muscular atrophy is an example of translational research, as the study is not testing a new therapy per se, but is expected to support the development of new therapies in the future. Due to the rare nature of spinal muscular atrophy, having a nation-wide consortium of 25 regional centers will be very important for enrolling sufficient numbers of patients into the trial.

SNI will work closely with neurologists throughout the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) region and with disease-specific community organizations, such as the Multiple Dystrophy Association, to raise awareness of the NeuroNEXT trials and help identify appropriate study participants.

In addition to SNI, other NeuroNEXT clinical sites include:

  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine Yeshiva University
  • Children's Hospital Boston
  • Children's National Medical Center
  • Columbia University Weill Cornell
  • Emory University
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Northwestern University
  • Ohio State University
  • Oregon Health and Science University
  • SUNY (Buffalo, Downstate, Upstate, and Stony Brook)
  • 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 Utah
  • University of Virginia Charlottesville
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine

About NeuroNEXT and the NIH

The goal of the NINDS Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials, or NeuroNEXT, is to conduct exploratory (Phase II) trials of treatments for neurological diseases through partnerships with academia, private foundations, and industry. The network is designed to expand the Institute's capability to test the most promising new therapies, to increase the efficiency of clinical trials before embarking on large efficacy studies, and to respond quickly as new opportunities arise to test promising treatments for people with neurological disorders.

In October 2011, the NINDS made awards to 25 U.S. clinical sites, a clinical coordinating center, and a data coordinating center, and announced the program in a series of meetings with academic researchers, industry representatives, and patient groups.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), one of the 27 NIH Institutes, is the nation's leading funding agency for research on the brain and nervous system. The NINDS mission is to reduce the burden of neurological disease a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world. For more information about NIH and NINDS programs visit www.nih.gov and www.ninds.nih.gov.

For More Information

For more information on the NeuroNEXT research, contact Dr. Dan Rizzuto at 206-320-2828 or via dan.rizzuto@swedish.org.

About Swedish Neuroscience Institute

In 2004, Swedish expanded its neuroscience services by establishing the Swedish Neuroscience Institute. The team of leading neurologists, neurosurgeons and other specialists are building a world-class institute dedicated solely to the treatment and research of neurological disorders for patients in the Pacific Northwest. The Swedish/Cherry Hill campus is the hub for the Institute. For more information, visit www.swedish.org/neuroscience.

About Swedish Health Services

Swedish Health Services has grown over the last 101 years to become the largest non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area with 11,000 employees, more than 2,800 physicians and 1,700 volunteers. It is comprised of five hospital campuses (First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah); freestanding emergency departments and ambulatory care centers in Redmond and Mill Creek; Swedish Visiting Nurse Services; and Swedish Medical Group a network of more than 70 primary-care and specialty clinics located throughout the Greater Puget Sound area. In addition to general medical and surgical care including robotic-assisted surgery, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org, www.swedishcares.org, www.facebook.com/swedishmedicalcenter or www.twitter.com/swedish.

In 2007, Swedish embarked upon an ambitious $100 million fund-raising campaign. Campaign investments are used to support a wide variety of initiatives throughout the health-care system, including cancer, heart and vascular, women and children, neuroscience, and orthopedics as well as programs to support underserved populations. To date, the campaign has secured gifts totaling more than $82 million. For more information or to support the campaign, visit www.campaignforswedish.org.

SOURCE Swedish Neuroscience Institute

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