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Neuromodulation Society honors Hacker’s Parkinson’s research

Dec. 6, 2018, 10:20 AM


by Tom Wilemon

Mallory Hacker, PhD, research assistant professor of Neurology, is the 2019 recipient of the Kumar New Investigator Award from the North American Neuromodulation Society.

Mallory Hacker, PhD

The society chose Hacker because of her research into deep brain stimulation (DBS) for early-stage Parkinson’s disease. She is the lead author of a study published in June in Neurology that suggested DBS administered to patients with very early-stage Parkinson’s disease slowed the progression of rest tremor.

“This encouraging finding must now be tested in a large, multicenter trial,” Hacker said.

“It is truly an honor to receive this award. This recognition speaks to the importance of the pioneering research conducted by Vanderbilt researchers who led the pilot trial of DBS in early-stage Parkinson’s disease — David Charles, MD, and Peter Konrad, MD, PhD.”

She and other Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers are continuing to study DBS as an earlier intervention for Parkinson’s. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a division of the National Institutes of Health, awarded a $275,000 grant to Hacker this year to conduct a longitudinal study of Parkinson’s disease patients who underwent DBS a decade ago as participants in the first and only clinical trial of DBS as a treatment for early-stage disease. The research has also received $50,000 in support from the American Parkinson Disease Association.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Vanderbilt to lead a Phase III, multicenter, prospective, randomized clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of DBS in early-stage Parkinson’s disease.

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