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Johns Hopkins Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) Clinic
The Johns Hopkins NMO Clinic launched in July 2009 and now follows 210 patients with NMO or NMO Spectrum Disorder (last count March 31, 2014), along with 81 patients with idiopathic transverse myelitis, 45 patients with recurrent transverse myeltis and small handful with recurrent optic neuritis. We also follow a few patients with multiple sclerosis who thought they might have NMO.
Until 2005, 90% of NMO patients were misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis and treated with medications that did not help. We've become much better at identifying NMO and treating it correctly. Whereas 30% of patients used to be blind or paralyzed within 5 years of diagnosis, now > 70% of our patients are remission without any progression of disease using safe medications.
Dr. Michael Levy directs the NMO Clinic and sees NMO patients in clinic every other Monday. He completed the MD/PhD program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX (where he grew up), and trained in the neurology residency and fe...llowship programs at Johns Hopkins before joining the faculty in 2009. In addition seeing patients with NMO, Dr. Levy also runs clinical trials in NMO (see the clinical trials page) and runs a basic science laboratory devoted to the finding the cure to NMO.
Maureen Mealy, RN, is the program director for the Johns Hopkins Transverse Myelitis Center and the NMO Clinic. Maureen graduated from the University of Maryland and obtained her nursing degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She has 7 years of experience in neurocritical care nursing and 6 years of experience working with patients with NMO.
Regina Brock-Simmons, RN, is the clinical coordinator for all of the trials in NMO. While Regina is relatively new to NMO, she has 10 years of experience running clinical trials at Johns Hopkins and is also trained in phlebotomy and infusions. view more
Neuromyelitis Optica Research Lab
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO), also known as Devic's disease, is a neuroinflammatory disorder of the optic nerves and spinal cord. Our lab is focused on understanding the pathogenesis of NMO using animal models and cell culture techniques. Recent studies have found an antibody in NMO patients, the NMO-IgG disease, that binds aquaporin-4 (AQP4) found on astrocytes and other cell types.We are trying to understand the relationship of the NMO-IgG to the pathogenesis of NMO. We are also focused on understanding why NMO preferentially attacks the optic nerves and spinal cord. Toward this goal, we found that AQP4 isoforms are differentially expressed on astrocytes in these tissues compared to other tissues in the nervous system (see publications). Aquaporin-4 isoform expression may be critically important in predisposition to disease in NMO.