Dr. Angela Genge
A winning state of mind
Neurologist and Director, Clinical Research Unit Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro
Dr. Angela Genge is a fighter who is always on the lookout for clinical trials for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or any other rare neurodegenerative disease for which there is no satisfactory therapeutic option.
She became Director of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Clinic at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) in 1998, and was appointed as head the Clinical Research Unit in 2004.
The neurologist decided to focus on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis because of the challenge it represented. “It’s just [that] I was really struck in my training. These patients are lovely, they’re like you and me. They do nothing to get the disease, it just happens. And I was aware that my colleagues found it very difficult to take care of them. There was a gap. For me it was just a natural fit.”
“When I started, my patients didn’t have access to clinical trials.
I thought it was unfair. So I just pursued biopharmaceutical companies, both large and small, to bring their trials to Canada.”
ALS, rare diseases and artificial intelligence
More than 25 years later, her expertise in the management of clinical trials in neurology and her connections in the pharmaceutical industry reflect positively on The Neuro. Patients from across Canada and several other countries travel to Montreal to participate in numerous studies on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and rare neurodegenerative diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, certain forms of dementia, and amyloid neuropathies. Dr. Genge describes herself simply as a connector, a personal accelerator program: “If I am asked about three sites in Canada or a principal investigator familiar with the disease, I find them!”
Through The Neuro’s Open Science Initiative, the team is developing international collaborations in Parkinson’s disease, ALS and dementia, as well as working with artificial intelligence experts to create tools that can help match patients to trials.
Newfoundland-born, Dr. Angela Genge chose Quebec more than thirty years ago. Her biggest dream? To be THE best place in the world to conduct phase I clinical trials in neuroscience. And, by the looks of it, she’s definitely on the right track, because The Neuro is now the leading recruiting site for the phase I/II/III trials of Biogen’s tofersen, a promising drug for the treatment of SOD1 familial ALS.