The Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center is involved in many facets of MS-related research. Financial support to conduct many of our investigations has come from multiple sources over the years, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Multiple sclerosis related research is active worldwide because the underlying cause of this devastating disease still remains unknown. Existing treatment strategies are only partially effective, leaving a desire for new therapies.
Our researchers have a long-standing interest in studying how the nervous system and the immune system interact, a process that goes markedly awry in multiple sclerosis. Determining, for example, how white blood cells manage to get into and out of the brain may eventually lead to new treatments that inhibit this process.
This is important because an influx of these white blood cells into the brain is believed to start the process which leads to MS. Different types of white blood cells also “talk” to each other by releasing particular chemical signals. How these signals are controlled is very different inside the brain compared to other organs. By understanding how the brain influences this process under normal circumstances, we hope to gain further insight into what goes wrong to allow these signals to trigger MS.
There has been a lot of recent research focused on actual injury to the nerve cells in MS lesions, not just their myelin coverings which have traditionally been thought to be the primary target of the immune system. An important aspect of our research focuses on improving our understanding of how these nerve cells are injured and how this injury might be prevented or reversed. This approach may eventually lead to new MS therapies.
Learn more about our current clinical trials.