In many cases, being part of a clinical trial helps patients play an active role in their healthcare and learn more about treating and managing their condition. There is also evidence that patients taking part in clinical trials do better than others with the same disease or condition. From time to time our doctors are involved in clinical trials of new drugs and therapies. You may be able to be involved (please discuss this with your neurologist).
We are conducting two separate trials of a new pain modulating agent and are looking for patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy and post herpetic neuralgia. These are double-blind placebo-controlled, randomized trials to determine the safety and efficacy of a new drug in reducing pain intensity in these two conditions. It is an international trial, and we are one of only four sites in Australia.
Patients can be on other pain modulating agents but must have significant pain despite pain modulators and must be free of cardiovascular disease.
These are 12 week trials and require regular visits to our practice so patients should live in or close to Orange.
We have a number of active research projects being undertaken by our neurologists. If you would like to participate please contact our office. Professor Simon Hawke’s basic scientific research is undertaken with Professor Georges Grau at the Vascular Immunology Unit at the University of Sydney in Camperdown. Many of our patients have kindly provided blood samples for this research (see below).
With funding from MSRA and the Dubbo MS Support Group, we have an ongoing project looking at blood brain barrier dysfunction in multiple sclerosis. Thus far we have shown that some of the drugs used in multiple sclerosis have effects on inhibiting the migration of immune cells across the blood brain barrier, thereby reducing brain inflammation.
We have an ongoing project looking at developing markers for MS disease activity where we are focusing on tiny particles released from cells into the blood called microparticles. These microparticles carry molecules on their surface identical to the "mother" cell from which they form. They also carry molecular "cargoes" that are available for analysis.
We are always looking for people with MS to donate blood for these projects. Unfortunately this requires a trip to Sydney to our laboratory at the University of Sydney to have this blood taken as only fresh blood can be used for these studies. Already, many of our MS patients have donated their blood for these studies and the first paper based on this work has now been published in the international journal, the Multiple Sclerosis Journal. See publication.
Dr Hammond has previously undertaken groundbreaking epidemiological work in multiple sclerosis cited internationally and showing that there is a significant latitude gradient in multiple sclerosis in Australia. Not only is the prevalence greatest in Tasmania, but Dr Hammond has also shown that the risk of contracting MS is fixed if one migrates from a high to a lower prevalence area of multiple sclerosis after the age of 15.
With funding from the Australian CJD Support Group Network (The Sylva Coehlo research grant and the Lieuw Memorial Research Grant) Professors Hawke and Grau in collaboration with Professor Andrew Hill of LaTrobe University in Melbourne are looking at the mechanisms underpinning the release of cellular micoparticles that can transmit infection of the CJD agent between cells. There is currently no treatment for CJD and other prion diseases. Previously Professor Hawke’s laboratory at Imperial College, London showed that antibodies specific for the prion protein can inhibit the disease in an experimental models of prion infection (White et al Nature 2003).
This new project is getting underway in 2016. We are performing the first epidemiological survey of the prevalence of benign intracranial hypertension in a rural setting. This work will be performed by a University of Notre Dame honours student Ivonne Lichtenberg supervised by Prof Hawke and Dr Simon Hammond, with Dr James Gordon from the Orange Neurology Centre.
Our neurology advanced trainees have also given presentations at the Australian and New Zealand Association of neurology annual scientific meetings based on work performed in our Central Western region.
Parkinson's disease research
We are currently seeking participants to volunteer for our study on the prevalence and impact of anxiety in people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Studies show that anxiety is a common experience for people living with PD and up to 50% report anxiety and stress cause a temporary worsening of their disease symptoms. The study aims to examine the ways in which anxiety affects other symptoms and factors in PD, such as freezing in Parkinson’s disease, and how these symptoms contribute to disability and quality of life. See below for our latest publication in this area.
If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact Perri Carlson-Hawke on 0421 507 236, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Perri can also be reached at Central West Neurology & Neurosurgery Mondays and Tuesdays on 02 6362 0711
Anxiety and it's Features in Parkinson's disease
Carlson-Hawke, P., Brown, B., Hammond, S. - SM Journal of Neurology and Neuroscience, August 7 2017.
Psychological interventions for psychogenic non-epileptic seizures: A meta-analysis
Carlson, P., Nicholson Perry, K. - SEIZURE European Journal of Epilepsy, 2017; 45, 142-150.
Migration and multiple sclerosis in immigrants from United Kingdom and Ireland to Australia: a reassessment. III: risk of multiple sclerosis in UKI immigrants and Australian-born in Hobart, Tasmania
Barnett N, McLeod J, Hammond S, Kurtzke J - JOURNAL OF NEUROLOGY, February 25 2016
Plasma levels of endothelial and B-cell-derived microparticles are restored by fingolimod treatment in multiple sclerosis patients
Zinger A, Latham S, Combes V, Byrne S, Barnett M, Hawke S, Grau G - MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS JOURNAL, March 1 2016
Differential Toxicity of Antibodies to the Prion Protein.
Reimann RR, Sonati I, Hornemann S, Herrmann US, Arand M, Hawke S, Aguzzi A - PUBMED, Jan 28 2016
Autosomal dominant congenital spinal muscular atrophy: a true form of spinal muscular atrophy caused by early loss of anterior horn cells.
Epitope-specific anti-prion antibodies upregulate apolipoprotein E and disrupt membrane cholesterol homeostasis.
Adult onset opsoclonus-myoclonus with autonomic dysfunction responsive to intravenous immunoglobulin
Thompson J, Gordon P, Hammond S, Hawke S - JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCE, November 2014
Gene Expression Profiling of Post-Mortem Multiple Sclerosis Derived Normal Appearing White Matter and Active Lesion Tissue
KK Ting, S Hawke - NEUROLOGY, 2010
Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia (MSRA) Brain Bank
S Hawke, TKW Wong, M Barnett, J Prineas, J Pollard - MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, 2010
Gene Expression Profiling of Post-mortem Multiple Sclerosis Derived Normal Appearing White Matter Tissue
KK Ting, S Hawke - MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, 2010
Google scholar link Simon Hawke: