Post written by Dr. Serena Hung
Research projects currently at the Medical College of Wisconsin and what may be on the horizon.
Even though the majority of the patients who come to see the movement disorders specialists are patients with Parkinson’s disease, we do have patients with various other disorders in our clinic. We have been fortunate to be able to offer clinical trials to patients for reasons I mentioned in an earlier blog.
Here are some of the ongoing clinical trials within the Parkinson and Movement Disorders Program:
For patients with Parkinson’s disease
- We are one of the sites for a new device made for deep brain stimulation. The target in the brain is the same as the target we normally use. However, the device is new and may or may not offer some benefit over the device currently on the market. That’s something we don’t know and part of the reason why we do clinical trials.
- Another trial is ongoing for early Parkinson’s disease patients. Their disease severity has to be mild enough that they are not on any medications for Parkinson’s disease. This is using high dose coenzyme Q10 for possible delaying of disease progression (neuroprotection)
- For patients with family members (parents, brothers, sisters) with Parkinson’s disease, there is a trial which require a one-time visit to explore the genetics of Parkinson’s disease
We are performing a trial using deep brain stimulation in patients with essential tremor. The requirements are quite specific — patients have to have face, head, voice or trunk tremor in order to qualify for this trial. They can also have hand or leg tremors in addition to the midline tremors. The target we are using in this trial is novel and we would like to see if it works better than the existing target for tremors involving midline structures.
We are not recruiting at this time, but we have been following a group of patients for 10 years in a trial called PHAROS. We have gained some insight into the progression of this illness in the days prior to people starting to have symptoms and thanks to our patients who have been extraordinarily patient (10 years is a long time) and enthusiastic, we may be able to use this information to plan future clinical trials.
We are pursuing clinical trial opportunities for other trials in Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. One of the most important things for our group is that we can offer opportunities to participate in research studies to our patients and we are constantly on the lookout for things that may make an impact on understanding these diseases or treating them better. If you are ever interested in finding out about research opportunities, if you are one of our patients already, ask us when you come see us. We are always happy to tell you more. If you are not one of our patients currently but you are interested in participating in research, you don’t have to leave your current doctor to engage in research. All you have to do is call our research coordinator, Jo Bergholte, MS at 414-805-5210 and go from there. Frequently we can work with your doctor to ensure they understand what we are doing here and update them on any changes.