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Hackensack Meridian Health's Florian Thomas, M.D.,..

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center is pleased to announce that Florian Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation Center of Excellence and chair of the Department of Neurology at Hackensack University Medical Center and Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, will be recognized for scientific achievement at the 71st American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia May 4-10.

A leader in the field of Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy (CMT), Dr. Thomas will present a successful Phase 2 study, for which he served as principal investigator, at the 2019 AAN Annual Meeting. His presentation is scheduled for May 10.

Dr. Thomas’ abstract titled “Results of the dose-escalation portion of a Phase 2 Study of ACE-083, a Local Muscle Therapeutic in Patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) Disease” was selected as a 2019 Abstract of Distinction. CMT is a hereditary neuropathy that affects one in 2,500 people. Patients suffer from muscle shrinkage and weakness as well as sensory loss; this affects walking, activities of daily living and quality of life. Until now, no treatment has been available to stabilize or reverse the disease. In this study sponsored by Acceleron Pharma, Dr. Thomas and his co-investigators show that the study drug, when injected into the leg muscle that lifts the foot, increases muscle volume.

The Abstracts of Distinction program recognizes top scientific achievement in each abstract topic area and is awarded to a select number of superior abstracts. According to the AAN, there were 24 Abstracts of Distinction selected from more than 3,000 abstracts submitted this year.

“A renowned neurologist and scientist, Dr. Thomas models our mission to transform health care and serve as a leader of positive change,” said Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center. “We are proud of Dr. Thomas’ most recent achievements in service of our patients, their families, and our community.”

More broadly, Dr. Thomas has engaged in CMT research and advocacy for more than 30 years. He has published on several subtypes, identified, with an international team of collaborators, a novel CMT gene, and spearheaded in the United States two of the first treatment trials for the most common subtype of CMT. Dr. Thomas and his team work collaboratively to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients living with CMT.

In describing their philosophy and approach, Dr. Thomas said, We provide patient-centered care to address the physical and emotional needs associated with chronic neurological illnesses and empower people to be knowledgeable about their conditions, engage in their own care, optimize health behavior, avoid complications, advocate effectively for themselves, and live their lives to the best of their potential. It has been very frustrating for our patients that until now no treatment options existed to improve the long-term prognosis. It is very rewarding that, through this and other research, treatment options are starting to appear on the horizon.”

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