Newswise — Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center is pleased to announce that Florian Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation Center of Excellence and chair of the Department of Neurology at Hackensack University Medical Center and Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, will be recognized for scientific achievement at the 71st American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia May 4-10.

A leader in the field of Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy (CMT), Dr. Thomas will present a successful Phase 2 study, for which he served as principal investigator, at the 2019 AAN Annual Meeting. His presentation is scheduled for May 10.

Dr. Thomas’ abstract titled “Results of the dose-escalation portion of a Phase 2 Study of ACE-083, a Local Muscle Therapeutic in Patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) Disease” was selected as a 2019 Abstract of Distinction. CMT is a hereditary neuropathy that affects one in 2,500 people. Patients suffer from muscle shrinkage and weakness as well as sensory loss; this affects walking, activities of daily living and quality of life. Until now, no treatment has been available to stabilize or reverse the disease. In this study sponsored by Acceleron Pharma, Dr. Thomas and his co-investigators show that the study drug, when injected into the leg muscle that lifts the foot, increases muscle volume.

The Abstracts of Distinction program recognizes top scientific achievement in each abstract topic area and is awarded to a select number of superior abstracts. According to the AAN, there were 24 Abstracts of Distinction selected from more than 3,000 abstracts submitted this year.

“A renowned neurologist and scientist, Dr. Thomas models our mission to transform health care and serve as a leader of positive change,” said Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center. “We are proud of Dr. Thomas’ most recent achievements in service of our patients, their families, and our community.”

More broadly, Dr. Thomas has engaged in CMT research and advocacy for more than 30 years. He has published on several subtypes, identified, with an international team of collaborators, a novel CMT gene, and spearheaded in the United States two of the first treatment trials for the most common subtype of CMT. Dr. Thomas and his team work collaboratively to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients living with CMT.

In describing their philosophy and approach, Dr. Thomas said, We provide patient-centered care to address the physical and emotional needs associated with chronic neurological illnesses and empower people to be knowledgeable about their conditions, engage in their own care, optimize health behavior, avoid complications, advocate effectively for themselves, and live their lives to the best of their potential. It has been very frustrating for our patients that until now no treatment options existed to improve the long-term prognosis. It is very rewarding that, through this and other research, treatment options are starting to appear on the horizon.”

About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 781-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care, which is comprised of 34,100 team members and more than 6,500 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as one of the top two hospitals in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018-19 Best Hospital rankings. It was also named one of the top five New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2018. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 25 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its sixth consecutive designation in 2019. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to THE NORTHERN TRUST PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit