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April 2009 

Clinician Scientist Receives Award


Dr. Swati Aggarwal, M.D.

The ALS Association and the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) are pleased to announce that Swati Aggarwal, M.D. from Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts, is this year’s recipient for the 2009 AAN/ALS Association Clinician Scientist Development Award as part of TREAT ALS (Translational Research Advancing Therapies for ALS). The purpose of the award is to recruit talented and promising young clinicians to the ALS research field, and to foster their development to make significant contributions to ALS clinical research. Dr. Aggarwal’s study will focus on selection trial design for promising therapeutics in ALS.

The process of developing new drugs for ALS is particularly challenging. The trials are generally very long and the number of patients that need to be recruited for the  trials is large due to the lack of good biomarkers for the disease. This puts a demand on trials to enroll sufficient patients for the now growing number of trials in a disorder which is relatively rare. At least 32 compounds have been tested in safety and efficacy trials (phase II and phase III) over the past 15 years. Currently seven therapy trials are underway, at least four additional trials in planning, and many more drugs in early discovery stages. The focus of the study in Dr. Aggarwal’s three year award will be to use a selection trial design to more rapidly identify the best therapies to test.

“I am honored to receive this award. I am very thankful to Dr. Cudkowicz, The ALS Association and my colleagues at the Neurology Clinical Trials Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital for their guidance and ongoing support,” commented Dr. Aggarwal.




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