For more than two decades, Dr. Joel Trugman has helped manage clinical trials that test potential treatments for neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease and migraine.
“I realized the biopharmaceutical industry works at the cutting edge of innovation,” says Dr. Trugman, who began his career as a practicing neurologist before making the jump to trial management. Today, he is an associate vice president of clinical development at Allergan.
Dr. Trugman works to discover new treatments for migraine, a disabling neurological disorder that can cause severe, and sometimes prolonged, headaches that are often accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and changes in vision.
“Migraine is very complicated,” says Dr. Trugman. “It’s a condition that involves multiple parts of the nervous system and brain. While the field of research is improving, we don’t yet have a firm grasp of the basic science behind what happens during migraine.”
Currently, Dr. Trugman manages large scale, late-phase clinical trials that examine the safety and efficacy of potential drugs to treat migraine. By designing, executing and analyzing these trials, he and his team help guide the discovery of new migraine treatments.
The Driving Force
As researchers grow their understanding of how diseases like migraine and chronic headache operate at the molecular level, they are increasingly able to target the underlying conditions. Recent advances in migraine treatment options have helped reduce the severity, length and frequency of migraine attacks, leading to less infringement on patients’ lives. While Dr. Trugman feels the scientific community is far from completely unlocking the secrets of the brain, he says progress is worth celebrating.
“This is a very good time for migraine research,” Dr. Trugman says. “It’s nice to work with people toward a worthwhile goal. I’m happy to participate in something new that can bring good to the world.”
Challenges and Collaboration
The drug development process is long, hard and fraught with challenge, but Dr. Trugman says the outcome is worth the investment.
“Innovation is worth the time and effort,” he says. “If we didn’t have innovation, we’d have the same thing ten years from now as we have today. Without innovation and systematic, sustained research efforts we won’t be better than we are today.”
Moreover, for migraine patients, Dr. Trugman says the future is promising.
“We are on the cusp of bringing a number of new medications to patients with migraine that have remarkable effectiveness with very good safety, tolerability profiles and few side effects,” he says. “Now is a time of great optimism.”
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