Neurological Research Advances Medical Science Towards New and Improved Treatments

At University Hospitals Neurological Institute, our clinical researchers are continually investigating new medications, technologies and treatment techniques. Knowledge gained through research can lead to improved treatments for our patients and others worldwide. We are committed to translational neuroscience, which involves transferring newly developed treatments more rapidly from the research stage to patient care.

Our researchers frequently work with experts at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine to enhance the results of our neurological studies. The university is the largest medical research institution in Ohio and is among the nation's top medical schools who receive research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Groundbreaking Advancement in the Treatment of Lou Gehrig's Disease

Our institute was the first in the world to test the diaphragm pacing stimulation system on patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease, and respiratory failure.

Our pilot study, which is being followed up by further studies at UH and at seven other sites around the country, indicated that the use of this pacing system slowed the rate of respiratory decline, which could mean a better quality of life and longer life for patients with ALS.

A Multitude of Leading-Edge Research Projects

At UH Neurological Institute, our clinical researchers are involved in nearly 100 research projects and clinical trials. Some examples include:

  • Surgical Rehearsal Platform: Surgical Rehearsal Platform is software that provides virtual imagery for high-risk, open/classic surgery; and cerebral aneurysm clipping. This technology enables the surgeon to gain currently unobtainable presurgery insights needed to refine the performance of time-critical tasks on a patient-specific basis.
  • Brain tumor vaccine: University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center is one of about 20 national sites conducting late-stage trials for CDX-110. It is an experimental tumor vaccine that "teaches" the patient's own immune system to fight glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer.
  • 5-ALA: Surgeons in the Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center are studying an experimental drug that can help surgeons locate and remove brain tumors more effectively. The drug, 5-Aminolevulinic Acid (5-ALA), is given to patients before surgery and it works by making the cancerous cells glow hot pink. Surgeons then employ a blue light to help them visualize the tumor more clearly, allowing them to remove the tumor from the brain.
  • The Ivy Genomics-Based Medicine Project: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is one of nine institutions collaborating on this project. Researchers are using new knowledge about the human genome to create personalized brain tumor treatments that are tailored to the genetic makeup of each individual patient.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI): The purpose of this study is to build upon the information obtained in the original Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI1) and ADNI-GO to examine how brain imaging technology can be used with other tests to measure the progression of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early Alzheimer’s disease (AD). ADNI2 seeks to inform the neuroscience of AD. This information will aid in the early detection of AD, and in measuring the effectiveness of treatments in future clinical trials.

Other research projects include:

  • Conducting a NeuroBlate® System clinical trial that uses real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for recurrent glioblastoma (aggressive brain tumors)
  • Testing new drugs for targeting brain tumor stem cells, which are resistant to current therapies
  • Studying Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), a significant, devastating public health problem that affects up to 5,000 individuals every year in the U.S. alone
  • Using convection enhanced delivery (CED) to more precisely deliver drugs to tumors, while sparing healthy tissues
  • Repairing cataracts in patients with Alzheimer's disease
  • Investigating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with funding from the Department of Defense
  • Understanding brain cell function in individuals with schizophrenia
  • Examining the optimum dosage of stem cell product used in the treatment of stroke