In many cases, being part of a clinical trial helps patients play an active role in their healthcare and learn more about treating and managing their condition. There is also evidence that patients taking part in clinical trials do better than others with the same disease or condition. From time to time our doctors are involved in clinical trials of new drugs and therapies. You may be able to be involved (please discuss this with your neurologist).
Clinical Trials now closed
Painful Diabetic Neuropathy
We were conducting two separate trials of a new pain modulating agent for patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy and post herpetic neuralgia. These double-blind placebo-controlled, randomized trials were to determine the safety and efficacy of a new drug in reducing pain intensity in these two conditions. It was an international trial, and we were one of only four sites in Australia.
We look forward to the results of the trials being published at a later date.
We have a number of active research projects being undertaken by our neurologists. If you would like to participate please contact our office. Professor Simon Hawke’s basic scientific research is undertaken with Professor Georges Grau at the Vascular Immunology Unit at the University of Sydney in Camperdown. Many of our patients have kindly provided blood samples for this research (see below).
Multiple sclerosis projects
With funding from MSRA and the Dubbo MS Support Group, we have an ongoing project looking at blood brain barrier dysfunction in multiple sclerosis. Thus far we have shown that some of the drugs used in multiple sclerosis have effects on inhibiting the migration of immune cells across the blood brain barrier, thereby reducing brain inflammation.
We have an ongoing project looking at developing markers for MS disease activity where we are focusing on tiny particles released from cells into the blood called microparticles. These microparticles carry molecules on their surface identical to the "mother" cell from which they form. They also carry molecular "cargoes" that are available for analysis.
We are always looking for people with MS to donate blood for these projects. Unfortunately this requires a trip to Sydney to our laboratory at the University of Sydney to have this blood taken as only fresh blood can be used for these studies. Already, many of our MS patients have donated their blood for these studies and the first paper based on this work has now been published in the international journal, the Multiple Sclerosis Journal. See publication.
Dr Hammond has previously undertaken groundbreaking epidemiological work in multiple sclerosis cited internationally and showing that there is a significant latitude gradient in multiple sclerosis in Australia. Not only is the prevalence greatest in Tasmania, but Dr Hammond has also shown that the risk of contracting MS is fixed if one migrates from a high to a lower prevalence area of multiple sclerosis after the age of 15.
Prion Disease projects
With funding from the Australian CJD Support Group Network (The Sylva Coehlo research grant and the Lieuw Memorial Research Grant) Professors Hawke and Grau in collaboration with Professor Andrew Hill of LaTrobe University in Melbourne are looking at the mechanisms underpinning the release of cellular micoparticles that can transmit infection of the CJD agent between cells. There is currently no treatment for CJD and other prion diseases. Previously Professor Hawke’s laboratory at Imperial College, London showed that antibodies specific for the prion protein can inhibit the disease in an experimental models of prion infection (White et al Nature 2003).
Benign intracranial hypertension project
This new project is getting underway in 2016. We are performing the first epidemiological survey of the prevalence of benign intracranial hypertension in a rural setting. This work will be performed by a University of Notre Dame honours student Ivonne Lichtenberg supervised by Prof Hawke and Dr Simon Hammond, with Dr James Gordon from the Orange Neurology Centre.
Other research projects
Our neurology advanced trainees have also given presentations at the Australian and New Zealand Association of neurology annual scientific meetings based on work performed in our Central Western region.
Parkinson's disease research
We are currently seeking participants to volunteer for our study on the prevalence and impact of anxiety in people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Studies show that anxiety is a common experience for people living with PD and up to 50% report anxiety and stress cause a temporary worsening of their disease symptoms. The study aims to examine the ways in which anxiety affects other symptoms and factors in PD, such as freezing in Parkinson’s disease, and how these symptoms contribute to disability and quality of life. See below for our latest publication in this area.
If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact Perri Carlson-Hawke on 0421 507 236, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Perri can also be reached at Central West Neurology & Neurosurgery Mondays and Tuesdays on 02 6362 0711
Recent Publications from our neurologists and consultants