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UCI Health selected as a site for the NeuroNEXT Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials

Southern California residents will have access to more leading research through innovative program

July 24, 2018

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has selected UCI Health to be one of 25 clinical sites in the United States, and one of just four on the West Coast, in its NeuroNEXT Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials. 

NeuroNEXT, a research program that helps streamline Phase II clinical trials for brain disorders, is supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health. UCI is one of several new centers joining the program.

“One of the advantages of NeuroNEXT, and something that makes it unique, is the network’s ability to quickly mobilize a group of specialists from a certain disease area to initiate a clinical study when opportunities emerge for trials,” said Robin Conwit, M.D., program director at NINDS. “The structure of NeuroNEXT, with its broad focus across neuroscience clinical studies, has the potential to reach many individuals who are affected by brain disorders.”

UCI-NEXT, the NeuroNEXT program at UCI, combines the university’s excellence in neurosciences, stem cell biology and device development with the vast collective experiences of the lead investigative team in human clinical trials at all stages.

 “UCI Health is known for bringing high quality, leading clinical trials for neurological disorders to Southern California,” said Tahseen Mozaffar, MD, interim chair of the UCI Department of Neurology and lead investigator for NeuroNEXT at UCI. “We have longstanding institutional commitments towards excellence in clinical translational research, a robust existing clinical trials infrastructure, and the seamless integration between various world-class research units engaged in clinical and translational research complemented by the unique ethnically and racially diverse population of Orange County.”

Being part of the network offers access to more national clinical trials for residents in and beyond Orange County. For investigators, NeuroNEXT offers a central institutional review board function, which can greatly reduce time and speed up the review process. It provides a centralized coordinating center for such things as contracts and trial design, as well as a centralized data coordinating center for implementing clinical trials at different locations.

“UCI’s participation in the network will extend the reach of neurological disease-specific clinical trials by training new generation of neuroscience physician trialists in Orange and neighboring counties,” Mozaffar said.

NeuroNEXT was started in 2012 to make neuroscience clinical trials more efficient and to help increase the number of treatments that get into clinical practice. The program is designed to encourage collaborations between academic centers, disease foundations, and industry. If a researcher is considering a Phase II clinical study, but does not have the experience to conduct it, he or she can apply to the NeuroNEXT program to leverage the resources that are available at the participating centers. For example, NeuroNEXT centers can provide equipment, standardize data acquisition and analysis, or help with patient recruitment. In addition, since each study takes place simultaneously in several different clinical centers, it takes less time to enroll the targeted number of patients than would be the case with a single center study.

“To date, nine clinical trials currently in various stages have been implemented in the NeuroNEXT network, showing that this innovative approach to research can help expedite clinical research and help get treatments to patients faster,” said Codrin Lungu, M.D., NINDS program director. “We are thrilled to continue working with the sites that have been participating in the network, and we look forward to collaborating with the eight sites that will be joining the program.”

For a full list of NeuroNEXT grantees, visit: https://neuronext.org/clinical-sites

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: NINDS is the nation’s leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.

About the National Institutes of Health: 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. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

About UCI Health: UCI Health comprises the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. The 417-bed acute care hospital provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, and behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and it’s the primary teaching hospital for the UCI School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.