NEWS | July 2, 2012

National neuroscience research project now under way at UC Davis

Web site offers key resources to both new and experienced investigators


UC Davis Health System researchers who want to investigate new approaches to treating neurological diseases now have an unprecedented set of tools for making clinical trials more efficient, getting results more rapidly and, ultimately, enabling them to bring innovative and effective treatments to people with debilitating disorders.

Led by Craig McDonald, professor and chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation, the health system has launched a new web site as part of its affiliation with the national Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT). UC Davis is one of just two locations in California, and among a select group of 25 locations around the country, that was chosen as a clinical trials site for the network's new pioneering research studies. The web site is a resource hub of information about the NeuroNEXT program, which was created by the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to speed the next generation of neurologic treatments to patients. 

Click photo to go to new web site © UC Regents
Graphic of new web site

"Our web site provides a window and access into the future of neurologic research," said McDonald. "If you're a young investigator with an idea for a phase 2 trial, or an experienced researcher who wants to do a biomarker validation study, the NeuroNEXT network is designed just for you. We're part of collaborative network that specifically has the infrastructure for more efficient and effective clinical trials."

The UC Davis web pages contain information and links that will enable prospective researchers, even those with limited experience in conducting studies, to have their proposals seriously considered and supported. Being part of the new network offers access to clinical trials participants at locations beyond the Sacramento region. It 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.

"This network is the ultimate example of strength in shared resources," said McDonald, who noted that UC Davis already has 29 investigators specializing in neurological research. "Discovering new treatments and therapies for neurological conditions is an extremely challenging endeavor. No one person or entity can provide the level of research needed for breakthrough discoveries. The NeuroNEXT network is structured to overcome those limitations and greatly expand our opportunities for success."

The network's advantages include the following:

  • Designed to expand the pool of experienced clinical researchers and staff
  • Provides a complete, standardized and accessible clinical trials infrastructure
  • Supports scientifically sound, phase 2 clinical trials, possibly biomarker-informed
  • Leverages federal, industry, foundation and patient advocacy partners to organize phase 2 trials
  • Offers access to participants from multiple clinic sites, as well as access to a centralized system protocol review and approval and data coordination.

For more information, visit the UC Davis NeuroNEXT web site or call program coordinator Randev Sandhu at 916-734-4303 or

The NINDS NeuroNEXT homepage also offers excellent information and resources for prospective clinical trials investigators.

Click here to visit the UC Davis Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials web site.