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(RDA-0148) Killer T cell Activity in the Paraneoplastic Neurologic Syndromes

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Killer T cell Activity in the Paraneoplastic Neurologic Syndromes (RDA-0148)

Principal Investigator:
Robert B. Darnell M.D., Ph.D.

Mayu Frank N.P.

Contact Information:
Mayu Frank, ANP
Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue
New York, NY 10021
Telephone: 212-327-7443
Alt. Telephone: 800-RU-CARES
Enrollment Status:
Open to Enrollment

Brief Summary of Protocol:
Paraneoplastic neurologic disorders (PNDs) are diseases which occur in some cancer patients, and are thought to arise when cancer cells produce proteins that are normally produced only in nerve cells. The patient's immune system fights the cancer cells, but because the proteins that the cancer cells produce are the same as the proteins in certain nerve cells, the immune system mistakenly attacks the nerve cells. This misdirected immune attack is thought to cause the neurologic problems in patients with PNDs, such as difficulty walking and speaking, abnormal and decreased sensations, and poor memory. The reason for doing this research is to better understand how PNDs develop and to better understand the immune response, so that we can develop treatments for PNDs, for the underlying cancers, and for other diseases where the immune system attacks the body's own cells.

We are studying patients with PNDs in several IRB-approved protocols at the Rockefeller University in the General Clinical Research Center. We would like to understand what is going right in patients with PNDs, in the hopes that we can learn how their often-successful immune attack against cancer may be used to help others with cancer. Of course, we need to be able to understand and separate this immune response from the neurologic degeneration. Studies on the neurologic degeneration are of two types. One set of studies is aimed at furthering our understanding of the cause of these neurologic diseases, an important first step into developing treatments. Based on what we have learned to date, we have a second study in which medicine is given on an experimental basis in an effort to lead us toward successful treatments for the neurologic degeneration.

Detailed Description of Protocol:
You will have a complete history as well as complete general and neurologic examinations. Blood will be obtained to determine if you have an abnormal immune response, to independently confirm that one exists (if the diagnosis was made elsewhere), and to determine which type of abnormal immune response your body is producing. You may be asked to undergo a spinal tap (lumbar puncture). You will also be asked to undergo a procedure called leukapheresis, a procedure very much like blood donation. This procedure will take approximately three hours.

These studies will in most instances be performed during a 1 to 2 day admission to the Rockefeller University Hospital.

What specifically makes a person eligible for the study?
You may be eligible to enter this study:

All patients with paraneoplastic neurologic disorders are eligible, including but not limited to patients with:

Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration (PCD)

The Hu Syndrome (Paraneoplastic Subacute Sensory Neuropathy, Encephalomyelitis, Limbic Encephalopathy)

Paraneoplastic Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Ataxia (the Ri Syndrome)


16-75 years old

Children permitted to participate:

Potential Benefits.....
There will be no direct benefit to you for participating in this study. However, others may benefit in the future from what we learn from this study.

There is no cost to you for being in this research study. You will not be paid for your participation.