NEWS | October 6, 2011

UC Davis Health System designated a national neuroscience clinical trials site

One of only two sites in California


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

The network is designed to support high-quality clinical trials over the next seven years for neurological disorders ranging from brain injury, multiple sclerosis and stroke to dementias, neuromuscular diseases, movement disorders and autism. The new network also will leverage the health system's major research and clinical care strengths in neurosciences and make new treatment protocols available in the region.

"This prestigious designation enables us to greatly enhance the important collaborations taking place between experienced clinicians and clinical investigators in our neurology, neurosurgery, pediatrics and physical medicine and rehabilitation services," said Craig McDonald, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and principal investigator for the new project. "What's truly exciting about being part of a national network is that it offers great hope for a diverse community of patients and families who face incredible challenges from devastating neurological disorders and injuries."

As one of just two network sites in California -- the other being at UCLA -- UC Davis' Sacramento campus will be the state's only NeuroNEXT clinical trials site north of Los Angeles. The capital city location comprises a number of core research and care facilities, including the UC Davis MIND Institute, UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, and the UC Davis Imaging Research Center, as well as the health system's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, which is highly regarded for its research and clinical care support to patients with neuromuscular and neurodevelopmental disorders.

"The road from 'bench to bedside' is a long one," said McDonald. "Combining the health system's great interdisciplinary team-oriented care, superior clinical neurosciences services, and physical medicine and rehabilitation expertise with our experience in clinical trials offers a spectacular opportunity to advance care for patients."

McDonald added that the new NeuroNEXT program will benefit from its proximity to UC Davis' Clinical and Translational Science Center, which is part of a national consortium working to transform how American biomedical research is conducted. It, too, is designed to speed the translation of laboratory findings into treatments for patients.

"Investigating potential therapies for neurological disorders and injuries requires careful planning, partnerships and collaborations so that the most promising treatments can be successfully tested and evaluated," he said. "All of the elements for success are in place right here in Sacramento."

UC Davis Health System is advancing the health of patients everywhere by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 645-bed acute-care teaching hospital, an 800-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit