Multiple Sclerosis Research and Clinical Trials

To make an appointment with an multiple sclerosis specialist, call 410-328-4323.

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.

Meet our Multiple
Sclerosis Team

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., 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., focuses his lab's research 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., 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., 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., 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.

Clinical Trials Open for Enrollment

Opportunities are available for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis to participate in several new clinical trials at the University of Maryland Center for Multiple Sclerosis.  These studies are either currently enrolling or will be enrolling shortly.  The studies vary in design, duration, criteria for eligibility, number of MRI scans, and other details.  The following is a very brief summary of each study.  You may obtain further information by calling Kerry Naunton, R.N., 410-328-1885 or Karen Callison, R.N., 410-328-7602 at the MS Center.

  1. The Pfizer trial is a study of a drug known as RN-168 in patients with multiple sclerosis. This trial is a Phase I study which means that it is tested in a small number of patients for the first time. The medication is injected under the skin into the fatty tissues of the abdomen. Subjects will receive either RN 168 or placebo. The study will last approximately 6 months. This medication is being tested as a possible new therapy to treat multiple sclerosis.

    Investigator: Walter Royal, MD

    Eligibility: This trial is designed for people 18-55 years of age who have multiple sclerosis.

Currently recruiting clinical trial opportunities are constantly changing. Please keep in touch if you are interested in trials!