Bjorn E. Oskarsson, M.D., studies adult motor neuron disease (MND) including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), progressive muscular atrophy (PMA), and related diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and inclusion body myopathy (IBM). He investigates the causes and ways to measure these diseases and explores new treatments.
- Clinical trials in ALS. Dr. Oskarsson conducts multiple clinical trials aimed at slowing, and eventually curing, ALS. This work includes: phase I trials (high risk, no benefit), phase II trials (first in human inpatient trials, dose ranging, early efficacy), phase III trials (pivotal efficacy trials) and phase IV trials (post-marketing). He also works on repurposing and biomarker discovery trials.
- Biomarker collection. Dr. Oskarsson collects blood, spinal fluid and postmortem tissue of patients with MND. The samples are used by the Mayo Clinic ALS research teams and have led to the discovery of the most common known cause of ALS.
- Muscle cramps in MND. Dr. Oskarsson has proved the benefit of mexiletine on muscle cramps in ALS and conducts and participates in other muscle cramp-related projects.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Oskarsson's research projects aim to make quicker and more-accurate diagnoses, identify targets for drug therapy, attempt drug therapy to slow or halt disease progression, and help improve quality of life for patients with MND.
- Lead investigator, COMBAT ALS Ibudilast, 2020
- Secretary, Western ALS Study Group, 2015-2020
- Sponsor investigator, Mexiletine for the Treatment of Muscle Cramps in ALS, 2008-2018
- Lead investigator, FLX-787 To Ease Muscle Cramps in Patients With ALS, 2016