The Burke Neurological Institute, the University of Rochester Medical Center and Wadsworth Center of the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) were recently awarded a $5 million grant from the Empire State Development Corporation to enable NeuroCuresNY (NCNY) to launch a two-year pilot starting in January 2020. This funding will speed the development of ground-breaking neurological treatments for those disabled from stroke. NCNY, a new and innovative non-profit, has designed a first-of-its-kind clinical trials platform to study treatments for stroke patients in New York. The clinical trials platform uniquely combines pharmaceutical and biology treatments with state-of-the-art robotic technology and integrates the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Trial Innovation Network (TIN). This multi-institutional collaboration elected to focus first on stroke, because it is the leading cause of physical disabilities in the United States. Nearly half a million New Yorkers are disabled from stroke as are many millions more around the world. NCNY will take maximum advantage of recent scientific and technical progress. Each trial will combine a new therapy to induce change in the nervous system with a robotic therapy that guides this change so as to enhance recovery beyond that achieved by current treatments. The impact of accelerating innovative neurological treatments to the forefront for stroke patients, who have exhausted everything that the healthcare system currently has to offer them, will have a tremendous human and economic benefit.
Burke Neurological Institute, led by Rajiv R. Ratan, M.D., Ph.D., and the University of Rochester Neurorestoration Institute, led by Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., will conduct the clinical research trials. The National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies at the Wadsworth Center of the NYSDOH, led by Jonathan Wolpaw, M.D., will configure the technology that collects and analyzes the research data in full compliance with the FDA. After the initial two years, the pilot will evolve into a self-sustaining engine for neurological research and development by attracting commercial R&D companies to run clinical trials, creating revenue in New York State.
“Millions of Americans and their families struggle on a daily basis with the challenges of being disabled from neurological conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. The lack of treatment options to significantly address the challenges that people with these neurological conditions face highlights the need for a novel, game-changing approach. With the organizational and financial support of the Empire State Development Corporation and the Governor's office, an unprecedented collaboration among the Burke Neurological Institute, the University of Rochester Neurorestoration Institute, and the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies at the Wadsworth Center, has brought forth a unique and innovative clinical trials model with potential to change this trajectory not only in New York, but nationally and globally”, says Dr. Rajiv R. Ratan.
Neurological conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury permanently disable more than one million people each year in the United States, costing approximately $37 billion per year to manage. Clinical trials for neurological disabilities and impairments are usually passed over because of unclear results and an overwhelming cost for researchers to conduct trials with patient participation. NCNY is changing that dynamic, by assisting with travel funding for patients, while providing a supportive and guiding environment where patients and their families can fully understand the scope of their care every step of the way. Over seven million Americans are disabled because of a stroke and NCNY is positioned to find effective therapies quickly to reduce chronic suffering.
“In fact, NCNY will be using a new generation of robots to perform rehabilitation in stroke patients and at the same time, measure the benefit of new therapies to restore function to their paralyzed limbs”, says Dr. Bradford C. Berk.