The Maryland Center For Multiple Sclerosis maintains an active basic research program funded by multiple sources including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National multiple Sclerosis Society, and several pharmaceutical companies. Current research at the center has three goals: The first is to understand the cause of MS and the mechanisms by which the immune system and viruses can cause myelin damage; the second is to test the immunologic effects of novel drugs that are relevant to the treatment of MS; and the third is to train fellows who are interested in MS research.
Typically, physicians in our center who care for MS patients also have funded basic research programs that strengthen the links between basic and clinical research. The center has strong collaborative ties with the Neuroimmunology Branch at the National Institutes of Health both in clinical and basic research. Members of our center also serve on national advisory committees related to MS research including the NIH, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The Department of Veterans Affairs, and major pharmaceutical companies. The following is a brief description of the investigators current research activities at the center:
- Walter Royal, M.D., Professor, Department of Neurology. Dr. Royal is the Director of the Maryland Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research and a Professor of Neurology and Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine. He is also the Research Associate Director for the VA Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence-East. Dr. Royal is an active investigator in the Maryland Center for MS clinical trials program and also has a laboratory which is researching factors that can modulate immune responses in MS. These include cigarette smoke exposure as well as effects mediated by the activation of nuclear receptors, which include the vitamin D and vitamin A receptors. His research also involves studies of the viral pathogenesis of MS and clinical and basic science studies of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of neurocognitive impairment that occurs among individuals with human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) infection.
- Christopher Bever, M.D., Professor, Departments of Neurology and Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Chief, Neurology Service, Baltimore VAMC and Director, VA MS Center of Excellence East. Dr. Bever's laboratory research has focused on the role of macrophages in inflammatory demyelination, the mechanisms of potassium channel blockers in the symptomatic treatment of MS and the use of stem cells in neuronal replacement therapy in MS. His studies are funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- David Trisler, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology. Dr. Trisler, in work funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, studies the use of stem cells in replacement therapy in animal models of neurological diseases.
- Susan Judge, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology. Dr. Judge studies the mechanism of action of potassium channel blockers in demyelination and in immune activation and regulation. Her work has been funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Horea Rus, M.D., Professor, Department of Neurology. Dr. Rus' research focuses on understanding the role of oligodendrocyte cell death in the development of the Multiple Sclerosis. Together with his colleagues, Dr. Rus has discovered that several of the complement proteins traditionally thought to contribute only to the destructive processes of MS may also aid in the prevention of oligodendrocyte death, and thus may help heal damage caused by the disease. Dr. Rus conducts studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and Veterans Administration.
For more information about the Maryland Center for Multiple Sclerosis, please call 410-328-5605.