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Southern California Doctor Pioneers Innovative Treatment for Neurological Disorders; Independent Clinical Studies on Human Subjects Support Findings.

-- Doctor Calls for Joint Task Force of Drug Companies, Researchers and Medical

Establishment to Fast Track Treatment for Sufferers

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Edward Tobinick, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA and Medical Director of the Institute for Neurological Research (INR(R)), a private medical group, has recently been awarded his seventh United States Patent detailing new methods to fight neurological diseases and related clinical disorders. These new methods utilize newly available therapeutic agents, produced through recombinant DNA technology, which inhibit the action of certain natural molecules, called cytokines, which initiate and amplify the body's inflammatory response. Three of these cytokine inhibitors are now available to treat arthritis. Published studies now suggest their utility for a wide variety of other clinical disorders, and many more are underway.

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"We have only begun to uncover the immense therapeutic value of this new class of medications with their initial uses for arthritis," said Dr. Tobinick. "Cytokine inhibitors promise to offer dramatic relief for a myriad of additional patients who currently have no solution for their medical conditions."

Numerous scientific studies in animals in recent years have documented the role of cytokines in neurological disorders. Now scientific studies in humans have been published which support both Dr. Tobinick's concepts and the clinical results which the INR has seen.

A clinical study by Finnish researchers presented in May at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine in Cleveland provides striking scientific evidence of the rapid, substantial and sustained effectiveness of a cytokine inhibitor for the relief of nerve pain from spinal disc disorders in ten patients with sciatica. The Institute for Neurological Research for the past two years, under the direction of Dr. Tobinick, has pioneered and received multiple patents for a new method of treatment for patients with certain types of neuropathic pain ( ). Pain caused by disc disease, including sciatica (leg pain due to nerve root irritation), is a form of neuropathic pain.

The Finnish study provides independent support for Dr. Tobinick's patented treatment methods for the relief of sciatica and other forms of neuropathic pain from disc disease.

A study of twelve patients published last year in Otology and Neurotology by doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital provides scientific support for Dr. Tobinick's findings that a cytokine inhibitor may be an effective treatment for sensorineural hearing loss.

A March 2002 clinical review by researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany provides support for Dr. Tobinick's patent concerning certain autoimmune diseases affecting muscle.

The most recent evidence supporting Dr. Tobinick's work came from a September 2002 report in The FASEB Journal* by researchers from a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who drew conclusions from lab experiments with mice, that cytokine inhibitors had significant implications for the treatment of Parkinson's disease in humans.

Because of the breakthrough results that cytokine antagonists have already demonstrated for sciatica and other neurological disorders, as documented by the above studies, and the promise that cytokine antagonists hold for the treatment of additional neurological disorders, Dr. Tobinick is urging the medical and research community to band together to address these urgent medical problems.

"This unmet medical need requires that key drug companies, the medical establishment and the medical research community unite in a task force that will propel forward the rapid development and therapeutic application of cytokine inhibitors for the many new clinical areas that can benefit patients," said Dr. Tobinick.

One of the current obstacles is a limited worldwide supply of cytokine inhibitors. This problem may be alleviated by mid-2003, when new manufacturing facilities are expected to become available. Failure to adequately plan for the demand created by the new uses of cytokine inhibitors could, however, result in further shortages in the future.

"Cytokine inhibitors have already dramatically altered the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients, alleviating severe medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's Disease which had not responded to previous treatment," noted Dr. Tobinick. "We now have a tremendous opportunity in the field of neurology. This will require the cooperation of medical researchers, the pharmaceutical industry and the medical establishment. The needs of patients compel us as physicians to pursue this new avenue of treatment as rapidly as possible."

About Dr. Edward Tobinick

Dr. Tobinick's career in biomedical research began as an undergraduate at Brandeis University and continued as a medical student at UC San Diego School of Medicine in La Jolla. He published his first scientific paper, in the field of cardiovascular nuclear medicine, as a senior medical student, which is still cited today; during this same year he tutored medical students in neuroanatomy and completed a sub-internship in Neurology at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York. He continued his postgraduate medical training at UCLA, where he completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine and a residency in Dermatology. Today, he holds board certifications in both Internal Medicine and Dermatology. Although his primary responsibilities are as Medical Director of the INR, he has also been a member of the Clinical Faculty at UCLA since 1982, and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA since 1984. He is co-author of a widely used medical textbook, has won an award for his medical teaching, and is a competitive swimmer, accomplished artist and photographer.

Building upon his early career interests in molecular biology, immunology, and neurology, in 1995 Dr. Tobinick began devoting the majority of his time to medical research. His field of concentration was immunotherapeutics. As biotechnology began presenting medical scientists with a tremendous new opportunity -- the availability of a new class of selective and profoundly effective new biopharmaceuticals based on recombinant DNA technology -- Dr. Tobinick focused his research on their applications. He has now been awarded a total of twelve U.S. patents, including four which issued this summer which covered the treatment of: sensorineural hearing loss; neurological disorders associated with viral infection, including HIV; retinal disorders; sciatica and back pain associated with vertebral disc disease; other neurological disorders; and neuropathic pain.


CONTACT: Sherie Faulkner, Media Relations, of Institute for Neurological Research, +1-310-824-6199

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Date:Oct 9, 2002
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