World First MND Trial At SALHN

A Southern Adelaide patient is the first in the world to take part in a trial that could slow and even reverse the effects of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Katrina Jensen, a MND clinic patient, was diagnosed with the disease in November 2023, and is the first participant to take part in the early-phase trial.

Southern Adelaide Local Health Network’s (SALHN) neurology team, who runs the MND clinic, which is open to patients state-wide, started the study recently with the support of the SALHN Research Hub.

The trial is being undertaken in Adelaide, Brisbane, and Sydney with a total of 24 patients set to take part, and one in three being given a placebo.

Katrina was approached to take part in the trial as she had been recently diagnosed and was not on any other medication for the disease.

Katrina is a former primary teacher of 41 years and is a keen hula hooper with 11 years practice.

Katrina will take daily pills which are hoped to repair links between neurons and restore communications function in the brain.

It is hoped that this will not only stop symptoms from progressing, but subjects could also have improvements in some functions that may have been lost including movement and speech.

If successful, the drug may also help patients with other conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia by regrowing the connections between neurons.

Over the next 12-months mobility, brain and lung function will be assessed by the neurology team, initially at weekly visits, and then moving to monthly, with findings reported back to the pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Quotes attributable to Dr David Schultz, Head of Neurology at Southern Adelaide Local Health Network

We are incredibly excited to take part in the trial to play our part in helping treat this disease for which currently there is only one recommended medication with very moderate benefits.

We hope to recruit around eight participants to take part in the trial and are proud SALHN is leading the way in finding new treatments, and hopefully one day, a cure, for this life-threatening disease.

Quotes attributable to patient Katrina Jensen

I’m always keen to take part in anything that enables progress. The study will be interesting and hopefully very useful in understanding more about the disease and how to effectively treat it.

The neurology team and I are learning on the job as we go, and they’re all incredibly nice and helpful.

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