Inland Northwest Research (INWR), a clinical research site in Spokane, WA, offers innovative and diverse clinical research options for those suffering neurological conditions. A focused group targeting biomedical research in the Inland Northwest region, they conduct clinical trials with the highest ethical standards, kindness and community focus. Recently, they took on a new Parkinson’s disease clinical trial attracting patients from as far away as Portland, Oregon.

Parkinson’s Disease

KXLY Spokane recently reported on INWR and their most recent clinical trial focused on Parkinson’s disease. They reported that 60,000 are diagnosed annually with Parkinson’s. Spokane, Washington is no exception and the community needs to become aware of this pervasive disease associated with aging. More than 10 million worldwide combat the disease. And with an aging population, those numbers will grow.

Patient Point of View: Worth a 350 Mile Journey

James Hedtke resides in Portland, Oregon, but learned about Inland Northwest Research’s Parkinson’s disease study in Spokane, Washington. There was something about the Spokane’s group’s focus and directive that surely caught Mr. Hedtke’s attention. He decided to make the 350 mile trip to learn more about what he could do to help himself. Hedtke commented to KXLY, “That’s when I met Dr. Aldred.”

Dr. Jason Aldred, the Principal Investigator with INWR, noted to KXLY, “Not only do they have access to top-line cutting edge neurological subspecialty care, but they also have access to participate in truly globally significant clinical trials.”

Now Mr. Hedtke is participation in a Parkinson’s study. Sacrifice is required often of patients but there is a bigger cause they seek.  Hedtke noted, “On the day of the infusion, I get an IV treatment that lasts an hour. I’m here about four hours or so.” Hedtke faces multiple challenges in dealing with Parkinson’s disease but he is also aware of the impact–the significance to medical progress–that this specific clinical trial represents not only for himself but for many others living with the disease.

In this way, the Spokane clinical investigative site has opened up  a new world for Hedtke: one that is meaningful, purpose-directed and that contributes to a bigger cause—to find ways to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease with the hope of finding a cure in the future.

Research Program in Spokane

The Spokane-Review highlighted INWR clinical trial participation recently as well.  The Spokane-based research site participates in a number of Parkinson’s trials. One study is focused on new Parkinson’s medications similar to those used in chemotherapy to assess if they actually can slow down the progression of Parkinson’s, reported Jason Aldred. Yet another clinical trial centers on an investigational vaccine-type treatment. With Parkinson’s clumps of alpha-synuclein in the brain, they aggregate to form what is known as Lewy bodies. Researchers believe these aggregations are toxic and could lead to Parkinson’s symptoms and even disease progression.

A new clinical trial will focus on the genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease. In the past, little to nothing could be done if a patient knew they had a genetic disposition for Parkinson’s. With the rapid advance of genetically-targeted investigational drugs and vaccines, there may be more that can be done with such knowledge. Aldred commented that “for the up to 10% of patients who may have a genetic form of Parkinson’s disease, the new research into this area is very important.”

A Pragmatic Approach

Dr. Jason Aldred notes that all involved want a cure, but that a big goal is to slow the progression down to where it simply paces with normal aging—“that would be a huge victory,” declares Aldred in the Spokane-Review. Presently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s.  Aldred understands that the patient comes first and based on a high-level review of the center, he appears to invest in this concept.

The Inland Northwest: Cross Roads for a Vast Geographical Area

Spokane in many ways is alone—by itself. With a population of about 220,000, it is small urban zone in a vast rugged, rural part of the United States. With mountainous forests to the east in Idaho, deserts and agricultural regions to the west and rural northwest, Washington it is an oasis of an urban area. Spokane is within striking distance to vast rural (and beautiful) regions in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington State. When the population of all of those states are included, Spokane is in the middle of a population of over 13 million (large population centers of Portland and Seattle included). Long distances are involved in this region of the United States when travel is considered. But Mr. Hedtke’s 350 mile journey is a testimony to the importance of the clinical research site.

Aldred noted that in the past, local residents, whether in Spokane or perhaps in the rural areas in Idaho or in Washington, or even down south in far northwestern Oregon, had to travel to Parkinson’s trials in Portland or Seattle. Now thanks to INWR, patients can stay locally to participate in a study.

As the clinical trials industry moves toward patient-centricity, new technologies, such as telehealth platforms and mobile technology, can make a difference to help transcend challenges such as geographical distance. Moreover, if industry sponsors are able to offer patient financial support (e.g. travel, lodging, etc.), this can truly make a difference for all.

Inland Northwest Research

Based in Spokane, INWR is a focused group of neurology providers with expertise in biomedical clinical research, especially Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders. They conduct clinical research with the highest ethical standards and seek to bring innovative and cutting-edge research to the community. INWR seeks to center its attention on addressing deficiencies in scientific knowledge, alternative therapies and chronic and acute diseases impacting people of the Inland Northwest Region. They also work to contribute to the development of biotechnology focused on improving clinical care and quality of life for those suffering from diseases such as Parkinson’s.

Since 2018, they have added more than 100 participants to clinical trials. INWR is led by Dr. Jason Aldred, who is also a Parkinson’s specialist at Selkirk Neurology. INWR, led by principal investigator Aldred, also conducts clinical trials focusing on Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Steven Pugh, also a Principal Investigator with INWR. Dr. Pugh currently is studying a new medication targeting the immune system that’s activated abnormally in multiple sclerosis.

INWR has also recently jointed a global consortium involved with the study of Huntington’s disease—the clinical study involves the observation of Huntington’s patients every six months as the hereditary disease progresses.

Investigator Aldred completed his neurology residency at Oregon Health & Science University and also did a two-year clinical research fellowship. It was during that fellowship that he was able to learn about how to run a clinical trial including mission-critical patient safety concepts and procedures.

Lead Research/investigator

Jason Aldred 

Source: KXLY

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