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Dystonia clinical trials at UCSF
3 in progress, 3 open to new patients

  • Chronic Effects of DBS in Parkinson's Disease and Dystonia

    open to eligible people ages 22–75

    The purpose of this study is to use an investigational device to record brain activity for 12-24 months following surgical implantation of deep brain stimulation (DBS) systems. The goal of the study is better understanding of brain activity in movement disorders and how they relate to DBS, not to bring new devices to market.

    San Francisco, California

  • Thalamic Deep Brain Stimulation for Secondary Dystonia in Children and Young Adults

    open to eligible people ages 7–25

    Dystonia is a movement disorder seen in both children and adults that is characterized by "sustained or intermittent muscle contractions causing abnormal, often repetitive, movements, postures, or both." Secondary dystonia is far more common in pediatric populations than primary dystonia, and far more recalcitrant to standard pharmacologic and surgical treatments including Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). There exists a large unmet need to develop new therapeutics, treatment strategies, and outcome measures for pediatric secondary dystonia. The investigators are proposing to investigate the ventralis oralis posterior nucleus (Vop) of the thalamus as a new target for DBS in secondary dystonia. Prior to the development of DBS, the main surgical treatment of dystonia was thalamotomy. Although there were many different targets in the thalamus, often done in staged procedures, the most common and successful targeted nuclei was the Vop, which is traditionally thought to be the pallidal receiving area. Previous lesioning of Vop produced improvements in dystonia but intolerable side effects, especially when implanted bilaterally. However, given that secondary dystonia patients were often reported to have superior results to primary dystonia it is reasonable to believe that if the side effects can be modulated, that targeting of the Vop nucleus with DBS could be a viable alternative to Globus Pallidus interna (GPi). Given that Deep Brain Stimulation is a treatment that is inherently adjustable, it is conceivable that settings on the Deep Brain Stimulation could be adjusted to allow for clinical benefit with minimal side effects. Indeed, there have been several scattered successful case reports attesting to this possibility.

    San Francisco, California

  • Use of Interventional MRI for Implantation of Deep Brain Stimulator Electrodes

    open to eligible people ages 21 years and up

    The purpose of this study is to determine the safety and effectiveness of a new procedure for placing DBS electrodes, in which the entire surgery is performed within an MRI scanner ("interventional MRI"), with the patient fully asleep (under general anesthesia). The standard method for the placement of deep brain stimulators does not use MRI during the actual DBS placement. The standard method involves placement of a rigid frame on the patient's head, performance of a short MRI scan, transport to the operating room, placement of the DBS electrodes in the operating room, and return to the MRI suite for another MR to confirm correct electrode placement. In the standard method, the patient must be awake for 2-4 hours in the operating room to have "brain mapping" performed, where the brain target is confirmed by passing "microelectrodes" (thin wires) into the brain to record its electrical activity. In the standard method, general anesthesia is not required. In this study, the surgery is guided entirely by MRI images performed multiple times as the DBS electrode is advanced. This eliminates the need for the patient to be awake, and eliminates the need for passing microelectrodes into the brain before placing the permanent DBS electrode.

    San Francisco, California