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Neuroscience Institute

Clinical Research

Research in multiple sclerosis at the MS Treatment Center began in the early 1990s and has gradually expanded through the years. Research efforts have centered around three major areas of interest:

Active Clinical Trials

  • CombiRx:  Comparison of the current approved immune modulators Avonex and Copaxone.
  • Fampridine/4-AP:  Oral medication to strengthen lower extremity muscles and to decrease spasticity.
  • Tygris:  Safety study for natalizumab (Tysabri)
  • 101-MS-201:  Higher titre concentration of natalizumab (Tysabri)


Pending Clinical Trials

  • Freedoms II:  Daily oral medication, FTY720, in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
  • Define:  Daily oral medication, BG-12, in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis


Active Laboratory Studies

  • Gene Expression in Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
  • Active Epidemiology Studies
  • Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
  • Devic's Disease
  • Transverse Myelitis

For more information on these clinical trials, visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ 

  1. Multicenter drug trials: The MS Treatment Center has participated in multicenter drug trials for over a decade, thus far participating in more than a dozen such trials. Multicenter drug trials involve many multiple sclerosis centers from around the country and around the world, working together to test new drugs in multiple sclerosis. This center was involved in some of the earliest trials of interferons (Avonex), glatiramer acetate(Copaxone), and most recently Tysabri. Ongoing efforts to follow many of the patients in these trials for long-term data collection continues. Other drugs recently studied at the Allegheny MS Treatment Center include 4-AP, and sertraline. The center is currently evaluating new agents for new multicenter drug trials to begin within the next year.

    The Allegheny MS Treatment Center coordinates the dissemination of information about drug trials through the Allegheny chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (and members of the Allegheny MS Treatment Center Staff sit on the advisory board locally for the National MS Society). When new drug trials are recruiting for patients to volunteer to enter studies, information concerning the basic mechanisms of study entry, inclusion and exclusion criteria are disseminated through the National MS Society (in newsletters and lecture series).
  2. Epidemiology and disease behavior studies: The Allegheny MS Treatment Center manages a complex database system to track disease behavior of patients within the clinic. Information obtained over the course of many years can be reviewed to provide important information about transient disease behavior. A special interest of the center has been an effort to identify risk factors for progressive disease. The work generated through this type of research has been published in major journals, including Neurology, and Multiple Sclerosis.
  3. Laboratory efforts in the immunology of MS: The MS Center has a particular interest in the behavior of white blood cells (T and B lymphocytes), which appear to be the primary effectors of inflammation in the nervous system and multiple sclerosis. Laboratory efforts in the past have identified disease behavior regarding particular types of white blood cells. The complex nature of the immune system, especially in regards to multiple sclerosis, is currently investigated at the Allegheny MS Treatment Center in conjunction with the Center for Genomic Sciences, directed by Dr. Garth Ehrlich. The clinical expertise of the MS Center combined with the scientific endeavors of the Center for Genomic Sciences at Allegheny, hopes to continue to make contributions to understanding the immunology of multiple sclerosis.
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