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School of Medicine
Multiple Sclerosis Research
Johns Hopkins is involved in many facets of MS-related research with financial support from multiple sources over the years including the National Institutes of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The need for research advancement in MS is profound. The underlying cause of this devastating disease still remains unknown and existing treatments are only partially effective.
Our researchers have a long-standing interest in studying how the nervous system and the immune system interact and how the process goes so awry in multiple sclerosis.
Determining, for example, how white blood cells manage to get into and out of the brain—and how they communicate through chemical signals—may eventually lead to new treatments that inhibit this process.
Recent research focuses on actual injury to the nerve cells in MS lesions beyond the myelin coverings. Understanding how these nerve cells are injured (and how this injury might be prevented or reversed) may eventually yield new therapies.
Drs. Shiv Saida and Peter Calabresi (director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center) are using optic coherence tomography (OCT), a light-based technique, to study nerve health in the back of the eye, an easily accessible part of the brain that is frequently effected in people with MS. OCT may help to detect nerve damage before the process becomes more severe in other parts of the brain.
The Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center is playing a central role in the development of several of MS drugs including rituximab and ocrelizumab. Peter Calabresi serves on the national steering committees for both of these trials. The MS Center is also participating in a trial of daclizumab, another monoclonal antibody that has shown promise in the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS.
Dr. Calabresi recently led the phase 3 trial of a long-acting interferon beta drug, pegylated intereferon, that was recently FDA approved and will enable people with MS to dose their medication only every two weeks. Dr. Ellen Mowry is leading a study of vitamin D supplementation to determine if this approach can help people with MS when combined with a standard therapy.
Multiple Sclerosis Research at Johns Hopkins
Hear from Dr. Peter Calabresi, director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center, what research is being done to develop new diagnostic and treatment options for MS.
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