Featuring Natasha Campbell, the Clinical Trials Manager at
Centre for Neurology Studies,
Situated in City Centre 3 of the Health and Technology District.
Tell us about your company.
The Centre for Neurology Studies (“CNS”) provides high-quality clinical research trials and consulting services in neurology, psychiatry, and neuroscience.
The CNS was founded in 2016, initially to help our sister company NeuroCatch Inc. collect data in support of their medical device license application to Health Canada. Shortly after, we participated in our first international, multi-center, phase III clinical trial exploring the efficacy of a translingual neurostimulation device on balance and gait recovery for individuals with traumatic brain injury. We stayed in the medical device field for the next few years, testing out new cutting-edge therapies like functional electrical stimulation for individuals with spinal cord injury, and photobiomodulation for Alzheimer’s Disease.
Over the last few years, we started being approached by individuals and organizations who were interested in running research, but either (a) didn’t have time to take it on or (b) weren’t sure how to get started. But hey, we knew all about research! That’s when our consulting arm began, which has grown quickly and organically since then.
As Clinical Trial Manager, I am essentially a professional Roadblock Remover. I’m here to make sure that our team has all the resources, facilities and training they need to run a clinical trial. What I love about our business model is that we keep our core team small, and contract qualified resources as needed for each individual project. This helps keep lines of communication clear and overhead costs minimal, while maintaining access to all required clinical and research services.
What are your products and/or services?
We have two main streams of business:
As a clinical research site, we work closely with specialized physicians and with our clinical team at the Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic to offer new therapeutic interventions for individuals with mental health issues, Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremor, Alzheimer’s Disease, Spinal Cord Injury, and concussions (among many others). These novel therapies are offered in the form of a clinical trial, so we are responsible for running all aspects of a study including working closely with the ethics board, recruiting participants, performing specialized assessments, and completing data entry.
Our consulting services help cut the red tape around research for individuals or companies that want to run clinical studies, but don’t know where to start. We’re experts in all aspects of study development from study design, research ethics board applications, Health Canada applications, and data analysis through to manuscript publication.
Who are your customers? What type of customers do you serve?
As a clinical research site, our customers are typically medical device and pharmaceutical companies that are running Phase II-IV clinical trials, with the purpose of providing evidence that evaluates the safety and efficacy of their products.
For our research consulting services, we typically work with start-ups, universities, private hospitals, physicians, medical clinics, and other consulting agencies across the US and Canada. These clients are interested in supporting their product, therapeutic model, or idea with science: this might mean running a feasibility study, doing internal program evaluation, exploring proof-of-concept ideas, or validating a product. Recently, we’ve been working with organizations in the burgeoning psychedelics space to support their exciting ideas with the necessary high-quality science and research.
How long have you been in the Health and Technology District?
Technically, since its inception!
Please describe an exciting project your company has worked on or is working on.
Right now, we’re collaborating with the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Institute on an exciting new study exploring the effectiveness of multimodal neurostimulation, when paired with intensive physical therapy, on balance and walking in Parkinson’s Disease.
That was a mouthful! What does it mean?
There are several different ways (“modes”) that we can stimulate the brain and nervous system to enhance the effects of physical therapy. In this study, we’re testing the “cumulative hypothesis” that TWO modes of stimulation (i.e., “multimodal” stimulation) might produce better results than ONE mode of stimulation, which might product better results than NO stimulation (in other words, 2 > 1 > 0).
The two types of stimulation that we’re testing in this study are (1) translingual neurostimulation using the PoNS device (this was the device we first tested in a Phase III trial back in 2016!) and (2) galvanic vestibular stimulation, better known as GVS. Both are non-invasive: one is a device that you hold in your mouth, and the other is a device that stimulates behind your ears. We pair this with an two-week (daily) course of physiotherapy with experts from the Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic.
You may have heard the phrase, “neurons that fire together wire together.” Can we facilitate motor recovery, making bigger changes faster, by helping neurons fire with electrical stimulation? That’s what this study will try to find out.
We can’t officially speak to any results yet, but in general, the feedback we’ve received from our participants so far has been extremely positive.
Has being located at the District made an impact on your business? How so?
Being part of the District has a huge impact on our business. As part of the District, we have a wide range of connections with medical specialists, academic institutions, health authorities, research ethics boards, regulatory experts, laboratories, and pharmacy facilities available to scale up our projects of any size. It’s an exciting ecosystem to be embedded in, one that not only focuses on technology and healthcare, but understands the critical importance of translating research findings into the real-world. Because of this, we bring a unique commercialization and societal impact lens to each project we take on, and this is something that our clients really appreciate (we aren’t your typical research team!).
What type of businesses or organizations do you want to see in the District?
We love partnering with specialized healthcare clinics for clinical trials, where we bring the research expertise, and they bring the clinical expertise. As the clinics we have in the District diversify, the more options we’ll have for clinical trials, and ultimately the more treatment options we’ll have available for the people who need it.
You can also connect with Natasha on LinkedIn directly at https://www.linkedin.com/in/campbellnatasha/