Participating in Huntington’s disease research is important to Katie Moser. Katie, 34, is gene positive and showing no symptoms of HD. She has a full-time job, friends, and a house, but she still chooses to take the time to participate in the trials and studies she can. She’s even driven five hours from her home in Elizabethtown, PA, to Rochester, NY, to participate.
“It’s important,” Katie said. “We need research in order to advance science. Ultimately, the goal is to find the cure or treatments or something to help in the long run. And if I weren’t going to do it, I can’t expect other people to do it. And it’s what I can do. I’m not a scientist; I’m not a doctor, but I can go do my part while I’m physically able to do it.”
Katie’s maternal grandfather died from complications of HD. She is an occupational therapist who chose to work with patients in an inpatient Huntington’s disease unit, where she saw the impact of the disease. Still, she chose to find out whether she carried the mutation, although most at-risk young people don’t. She raises money for research and participates in trials, helping to find treatments and, someday, a cure.
Katie’s advocacy and outgoing personality caught the attention of Lundbeck, a pharmaceutical company that specializes in finding therapies for central nervous system disorders. Katie is now a manager of Advocacy and Patient Support in Lundbeck’s Movement Disorder Marketing department. She travels the country, connecting with HD families at conferences, walks and other events. Her background in OT and her family experience helps her connect in a way no one else can.
Katie knows each individual’s situation is unique and doesn’t pressure anyone into participating, especially when trials need gene-positive participants. Not everyone wants to know their status.
“I tell people where to find information on trials. I direct people to the sites like HD Buzz to get information about research that will be easier for them to understand. And then I share my experience participating in trials,” Katie said.
Katie has participated in at least four multi-center trials and studies, as well as several smaller studies that only required one visit. She has traveled to New York City, Connecticut and Rochester to participate. She’s currently in ENROLL-HD, which is an observational study and one that doesn’t require participants to know their gene status.
“It’s a little exhausting,” Katie admitted. But even when one of the trials she participated in didn’t produce positive results (coenzyme Q10), at least it told researchers something.
“You don’t want to be wasting time and money. It’s important to find out what’s going on.”
To find out about HSG trials as soon as they launch, sign up for our future contact database. The Huntington’s Disease Society of America’s HD Trial Finder is a great resource for finding all currently enrolling HD trials, as well as clinicaltrials.gov.
To learn more about Katie’s experience learning her gene status, read the 2007 New York Times feature article, “The DNA Age: Facing Life with a Lethal Gene,” by Amy Harmon.