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The Relationship between Transverse Myelitis and Multiple Sclerosis

Transverse myelitis (TM) and multiple sclerosis (MS) are both inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system where the immune system becomes abnormal and attacks the nervous system. TM is largely a “one-time” disease (monophasic) that involves only the spinal cord. MS is always a “many-time” disease (multiphasic) that involves the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord. Regardless of the regional specificity and temporality, the underlying mechanisms of these two diseases are largely similar. What makes this collaboration interesting and productive is that, depending on the series, 15-to-43% of TM patients may ultimately be diagnosed with MS.

Further, TM is a unique model system to study novel neuroprotective and neurorestorative therapies. This is because of the monofocal and monophasic nature of the disease. Where all injury and subsequent disability in TM can be attributed to one lesion in the spinal cord, in MS it is a cumulative burden of disease based on the number and location of lesions. The use of TM as a model system to study novel therapies is largely due to the fact that one can measure outcomes quickly and understand mechanisms better, thereby enabling the development of clinical trials soon in diseases such as MS.

Learn more about multiple sclerosis and transverse myelitis.


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Attacking Two Brain Disorders on Multiple Fronts
Uncover how Hopkins researchers are finding new treatments and diagnostic tools to treat multiple sclerosis and transverse myelitis.

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