News Ben Brown | 7 years ago

Neurosciences Institute First Site in World to Test New ALS Drug

The Carolinas Neuromuscular ALS/MDA Center will be the first site in the world to initiate a clinical trial of the drug ibudilast for ALS patients, starting in the fall of 2014. Benjamin Rix Brooks, MD, director, Carolinas Neuromuscular ALS/MDA Center at Carolinas HealthCare System Neurosciences Institute is the principal investigator. The primary objective of the trial is to evaluate the safety and tolerability of the drug and to determine if ibudilast can slow the progression of ALS. “We are looking forward to this clinical trial as a way to help our patients early in the course of the disease,” said Dr. Brooks. “Ibudilast has demonstrated weakening effects on the cells which are considered to play a key role in disease progression in ALS patients.” Ibudilast is not a new drug-it has been marketed in Japan and Korea since 1989 to treat cerebrovascular disorders, including post-stroke complications, and bronchial asthma. Dr. Brooks is hopeful that this drug will have a significant impact on ALS, a disease which currently has limited treatment options. In addition to this trial, Dr. Brooks is leading another initiative to support ALS patients. He has collaborated with an IT company to create a way to digitally store ALS patient records. The benefit of this is that the electronic form boosts the safety and care of ALS patients. It makes it faster and easier to access and analyze each patient’s progress and the form can quickly identify and rectify any medical setbacks. Eventually, the goal is to have the electronic ALS form shared with other ALS clinics across the country so ALS experts everywhere can create an accurate database that will help them identify trends, best practices and ultimately a cure for ALS.