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Center for Experimental Neurotherapeutics (CENT) Clinic

The CENT Clinic cares for children with certain genetic disorders that affect the nervous system.

About the CENT Clinic

Children with certain genetic neurological disorders at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital visit the Center for Experimental Neurotherapeutics (CENT) Clinic for care.

Learn about neurological disorders care at St. Jude.

The CENT Clinic helps move the most promising and advanced experimental therapies from the lab into the clinic.

We study types of genetic neurological disorders that include:

  • Ataxias and movement disorders
  • Genetic epilepsies and epileptic encephalopathies
  • Inherited neuropathies
  • Muscular dystrophies
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Neurometabolic and degenerative disorders

In the CENT Clinic, patients take part in studies and contribute to research efforts, including clinical trials of experimental therapies.

Your CENT Clinic team

The CENT Clinic is led by Richard Finkel, MD, and supported by other doctors and researchers who are experts in genetic neurological diseases.

The CENT Clinic team also includes:

  • A patient coordinator, who will help collect medical records and handle follow-up items from your visit
  • A physical therapist, who can assess your child’s strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination
  • A genetic counselor, who has advanced training and experience in medical genetics and counseling
  • Research nurses, who help your child understand and take part in clinical research studies
  • Study coordinators, who help manage clinical research activities
  • Depending on your need, you may also see a nurse navigator, child life specialist, social worker, or psychologist

What to expect during your visit

In the CENT Clinic, your child will:

  • Have a full neurological exam
  • Have functional testing to understand how well their nervous system and muscles work
  • Complete developmental assessments to monitor their growth, cognition, and behavior
  • Fill out surveys and questionnaires

Your child may also give blood or skin samples for research. If your child takes part in a specific clinical study, there may be other activities that they will do. The CENT Clinic team will explain these activities in detail before your visit.

Your CENT Clinic team will discuss care recommendations with you in detail. Feel free to ask questions at any time.

Learn more