NewYork-Presbyterian, Columbia and Weill Cornell Join National Effort to Spur Clinical Trials in the Neurosciences

Mar 13, 2012


The National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has selected Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital to participate in a new national effort to accelerate the development of therapies for people with neurological diseases.

NeuroNEXT (for Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials) links 25 sites through a common research infrastructure, streamlining the process to conduct clinical trials of promising therapies.

"NeuroNEXT promises to be revolutionary. Since investigators spend a great deal of time and effort designing clinical trials and recruiting patients, having an infrastructure in place that can readily support these activities will make all the difference in the world," said Karen Marder MD, MPH, co-principal investigator of the Columbia-Weill Cornell NeuroNEXT site at NewYork-Presbyterian, the Sally Kerlin Professor of Neurology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

The three institutions were chosen for their extensive expertise in adult and pediatric neurology, neurosurgery, basic neuroscience, and neuroepidemiology, as well as for their ability to recruit diverse patient populations. In addition, Columbia and Weill Cornell have NIH-sponsored Clinical and Translational Science Award programs, which are designed to promote the translation of laboratory discoveries into treatments. The Columbia-Weill Cornell NeuroNEXT site at NewYork-Presbyterian is supported by a seven-year, $2.27 million dollar grant from NINDS, a division of the NIH.

NeuroNEXT will focus on Phase 2 (exploratory) clinical trials so that researchers can efficiently test new treatments before embarking on large and costly Phase 3 (efficacy) trials.

Twenty-five NeuroNEXT sites will be backed by a central clinical coordinating center, which will help investigators implement clinical trials, and a central data-coordinating center, which will provide statistical and data management support. One innovative aspect of NeuroNEXT is the use of a common institutional review board (a committee to protect the rights and welfare of research subjects). This should significantly decrease the time between trial design and initiation, while ensuring patient safety.

"NeuroNEXT will be open to all investigators in the neurosciences community," explained Claudia Chiriboga MD, MPH, co-principal investigator of Columbia–Weill Cornell NeuroNEXT site at NewYork-Presbyterian, associate professor of clinical neurology and pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeon, and a pediatric neurologist at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New-York-Presbyterian/Columbia. "We especially hope to involve young investigators who have a fantastic idea for a study but who may or may not know much about how to design or run a clinical trial. Using the expertise at our site and in the NeuroNEXT network, we can mentor these researchers and guide them through the grant proposal and trial design process."

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell's contribution to the site will be led by Claire Henchcliffe, MD, DPhil, associate professor of neurology and neuroscience and the Daisy and Paul Soros Clinical Scholar in Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and a neurologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

"NeuroNEXT is an innovative and exciting development," says Dr. Henchcliffe. "Not only does it leverage the superb clinical research infrastructure at these two academic medical centers, but it will help break down traditional research 'silos' and cultivate a culture of collaboration to more efficiently impact on future care of neurological disorders."

The CUMC-Weill Cornell NeuroNEXT site is supported by the NIH (1U10NS077267-01).

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,353 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 220,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. For more information, visit

Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The Medical Center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with the Methodist Hospital in Houston. For more information, visit

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