Hope for Better Quality of Life for Tourette’s Patients

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You have given Chris hope...

Chris Wright was the first participant to commence treatment on a medicinal cannabis clinical trial to treat his neurological disorder Tourette’s syndrome – a disorder that often has its onset in childhood and is characterised by involuntary movements and vocalisations.

Chris developed Tourette’s syndrome in childhood and despite medication, his condition has persisted. His physical tics include rolling of the eyes and spasms in his shoulders and neck. This has meant that even simple tasks like reading a paperback book have been out of reach.

At 31, Chris is working full-time in Customer Service in Brisbane and spends his day trying to regulate his tics. “Any reprieve would be very welcome. It is getting to the point where I don’t know what to do, it feels as though it all gets too much sometimes,” said Chris.

Picture of clinical trial patient, Chris Wright
Clinical Trial patient Chris Wright.

“The purpose of this clinical trial is to investigate whether medicinal cannabis is a potential therapy for people with Tourette’s syndrome,” said Wesley Medical Research lead investigator and neuropsychiatrist Dr Philip Mosley.

The medicinal cannabis, developed to pharmaceutical standards, contains a mixture of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — two phytocannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. The trial is being conducted by Wesley Medical  Research in Brisbane, with the support of the Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney. The Lambert Initiative is supplying the drug for this trial.

“Given the public interest in the therapeutic use of cannabis, it is important to conduct rigorous and methodologically-sound research,” said Dr Mosley.

Participants in the clinical trial at Wesley Medical Research will complete two 6-week periods of treatment with active drug or placebo. To eliminate bias, neither the participant nor the investigator will know which treatment participants are receiving until the trial is complete.

“Tourette’s has really been a blow to my confidence… my life in general. I’m often in pain and so I often spend my days sleeping and recovering just to do it all again…,” said Chris. 

“The biggest impact this trial has had on my life so far is that my head movements have almost gone and I have been able to read my first book in 10 years. I don’t know if anyone realises what a big deal this is for me. This is life-changing.

Dr Jennifer Schafer said that “our focus is to give people like Chris these opportunities to improve their quality of life. We offer hope and answers through medical research.

“We are fortunate to have dedicated front-line clinicians like Dr Mosley leading this important work and donors who continue to support this valuable research.”

Chris Wright with Neuropsychiatrist and Lead Investigator Dr Phil Mosely

The purpose of this clinical trial is to investigate whether medicinal cannabis is a potential therapy for people with Tourette’s Syndrome. This trial could greatly improve the lives of those living with Tourette’s Syndrome.

Dr Phil Mosely, Lead Investigator

“There is already early evidence to support the successful treatment of Tourette’s Syndrome with cannabinoids” said Professor Iain McGregor, Academic Director of the Lambert Initiative.

“This clinical trial could have a major impact and greatly improve the lives of those living with Tourette’s syndrome.”

Find out more or register your interest at wesleyresearch.org.au/tourettes

This research was made possible through the generosity of our donors and The Brazil Family Foundation.

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