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Episode 14: Clinical Trials for Parkinson’s

Therapies are available to treat Parkinson’s symptoms and improve quality of life for people living with the disease. But we don’t yet have a way to slow or stop Parkinson’s progression, and that is why research is critical. Dr. Tanya Simuni of the Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine says this is an exciting time for the development of Parkinson’s therapeutics. She explains the clinical trials process and describes some ongoing trials, including how the potential new drugs work and why it’s important for people with Parkinson’s to participate in research.

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About This Episode

Tanya Simuni, MD

Tanya Simuni, MD, is an Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. Professor of Neurology and Director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. She also serves as Residency Program Director in the Department of Neurology.

Dr. Simuni graduated with her medical degree from Leningrad Medical School and completed an internship in medicine in Leningrad, Russia. She subsequently completed an internship in internal medicine at Albert Einstein Medical Center and a neurology residency and a clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Temple University in Philadelphia. She remained in Philadelphia to pursue a movement disorders fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, where she served on the clinical faculty for three years and was Medical Co-Director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders surgical program. She is board certified in neurology and clinical neurophysiology.

Dr. Simuni joined the faculty of the Northwestern University in 2000 to build and lead a multidisciplinary movement disorders center that is now a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence and serves as a training model in the region. She is currently the investigator of more than a dozen PD clinical trials, one of which is a multicenter, phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate isradipine as a potential disease-modifying agent in early PD. Her works have been widely published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and she has lectured nationally on PD and other movement disorders.    

Dr. Simuni is an active member of the American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, Movement Disorders Society, Parkinson’s Study Group, Restless Legs Syndrome Study group, and REM Behavior Disorders Study Group.

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