Merit E. Cudkowicz, MD
Neuroscience Center at Massachusetts General
Massachusetts General Hospital –
Charlestown, MA 02129
Dr. Cudkowicz received a degree in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston MA and an MD from Harvard Medical School (Health Science and Technology Division). She received additional training in clinical reserach and a Masters in Clinical Sciences from Harvard School of Public Health.
Dr. Cudkowicz's research and clinical activities are dedicated to the study and treatment of patients with neurodegenerative disorders, in particular amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Huntington’s Disease (HD). Her major research focus is on developing novel treatments of these disorders. In this regard, she have performed many animal studies to evaluate a wide range of treatment strategies in ALS. Further, I have designed and initiated human clinical trials to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of therapies that have shown promise in preclinical studies. She built a neurology clinical trial unit at MGH and also formed an international consortium to test novel therapies in ALS. Her research efforts also include studies risk factors for the development of ALS and biomarkers. She currently has 2 RO1s from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a clinical research training course development grant and several others research grants to conduct clinical research and training in ALS and HD. Taken together, my research efforts constitute a comprehensive program to translate basic science breakthroughs into effective treatments for patients with ALS and those with HD.
To evaluate potential therapies in patients, she designs and perform clinical trials withinher own institution and with the Northeast ALS (NEALS) consortium. Within her own institution, I designed phase I studies of intrathecal superoxide and procysteine. The NEALS consortium, which she co-founded and co-direct, was formed in 1995, and consists of 82 clinical sites in the United States and Canada dedicated to performing joint academic led clinical trials in ALS. All data management and clinical trial coordination for the group is performed under her direction at the Massachusetts General Hospital. In conjunction with the NEALS consortium, she planned and completed 6 multi-center clinical trials in ALS (topiramate, creatine, celebrex, coenzyme Q10, arimoclomol, and sodium phenylbutrate). She is currently leading three new trials in ALS, a phase I-III adaptive study design trial of ceftriaxone (NINDS R01 grant); a phase IIb study of lithium and a phase I study of an antisense oligonucleotide to superoxide dismutase (SOD1) in people with familial ALS from mutations in SOD1 (ALS Association and the Muscular Dystrophy Association).
In 1994, along with Dr. Greenberg, she established the Neurology Clinical Trial unit (NCTU) at MGH. She co-direct this unit that has approximately 30 staff who coordinate and perform data management for trials in ALS, HD, Parkinson’s Disease and stroke. In addition, one of the missions of the NCTU is to mentor and assist others clinical investigators in the department of Neurology.
Dr. Cudkowicz is also actively involved in clinical trials in Huntington’s disease (HD). In collaboration with the Huntington Study Group at the University of Rochester, she is the Principal Investigator of two multi-center clinical trials. One is a futility design study of minocyline in HD (FDA OPD grant) and the second is the first phase III efficacy study in Huntington’s disease (Coenzyme Q10 in ALS, NINDS, R01).
here to access a full PubMed search on Dr. Cudkowicz
• Cudkowicz ME, Shefner JM, Simpson E, Grasso D, Yu H, Zhang H, Shui A, Schoenfeld D, Brown RH, Wieland S, Barber JR and the Northeast ALS Consortium. Arimoclomol at dosages up to 300 mg/day is well tolerated and safe in ALS. Muscle and Nerve 2008;38 (1):837-44.
• Qureshi M, Shui A, DiBernardo AB, Brown RH, Schoenfeld DA, Cudkowicz ME. Medications and laboratory parameters as prognostic factors in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Amyotroph Lateral Scler 2008; 9(6):369-374..
• Del Signore S , Amante DJ, Kim J , Stack EC , Goodrich S , Cormier K , Smith K , Cudkowicz ME, Ferrante RJ. Combined riluzole and sodium phenylbutyrate therapy in transgenic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis mice. Amyotroph Lateral Scler 2009;10(2):85-94..
• Bedlack RS, Pastula D, Welch E, Pulley D, Cudkowicz ME. Scrutinizing Enrollment in ALS Clinical Trials. Amyotroph Lateral Scler 2008;9(5):257-65..
• Qureshi M, Brown RH, Rogers JT, Cudkowicz ME. Ferritin levels and metals as risk factors in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Open Neurology Journal 2008; 2:51-54.
• Cudkowicz ME, Andres PL, Macdonald SA, Bedlack RS, Choudry R, Brown RH Jr, Zhang H, Schoenfeld DA, Shefner J, Matson S, Matson WR, Ferrante FJ. Phase 2 study of sodium phenylbutyrate in ALS. Amyotroph Lateral Scler 2009;10 (2):99-106.
• Gordon PH, Corcia P, Lacomblez L, Pochigaeva K, Abitbol J-P, Cudkowicz M, Nigel PN, Meininger V. Defining Survival as an Outcome Measure in ALS. Archives of Neurology 2009:66(6):758-61 .
• Qureshi M, Schoenfeld DA, Paliwal Y, Shui A, Cudkowicz ME. The natural history of ALS is changing; improved survival. Amyotroph Lateral Scler 2009; 10(5-6):324-31.
• Kaufmann P, Thompson JLP, Levy G, et al for the QALS Study Group. Phase II trial of CoQ10 for ALS finds insufficient evidence to justify Phase III. Annals of Neurology 2009; 66(2):235-44.