words by barbara hurley /
photograph by pete byron
hree UMDNJ neurologists count nearly 100 clinical trials in Parkinson’s disease among them over more than 20 years. The three: Jacob Sage, MD, professor of neurology and director of the Movement Disorders Center at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), and his colleagues, Lawrence Golbe, MD, RWJMS professor of neurology, and Margery Mark, MD, RWJMS associate professor of neurology. The Center is a major regional referral destination for Parkinson’s disease, among other movement disorders. It is associated with the American Parkinson’s Disease Association and is the only Parkinson’s center in New Jersey.
Many patients go there because they want to see a subspecialist, so many choose to participate in clinical trials. Three Parkinson’s trials are currently underway, one studying a treatment for the motor complications associated with the disease, another assessing a potential disease modifying therapy in early Parkinson’s, and the third exploring the safety of an investigational drug.
“In clinical trials, the best part is being able to offer my patients new drugs that could help in ways existing drugs do not,” explains Golbe, who also does clinical research in epidemiology and genetics. “The scientific aspect of large, multi-center drug trials is usually not very rewarding personally because it happens at the drug company. However, my non-drug-trial clinical research has been extremely rewarding. Some of my work has changed standard clinical practice.”