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August 27th, 2009

Mayo Launches MS Center


Long a leader in multiple sclerosis research, Mayo Clinic has launched an MS Center with senior investigator Moses Rodriguez, M.D., at the helm.

“When I came to Mayo in 1983, there was not a single investigator doing MS research,” recalls Dr. Rodriguez. “Over the years we’ve built a strong, interdisciplinary faculty for MS and demyelinating disease research. With the creation of a Mayo Clinic MS Center, we are formalizing the collaborations that have gone on for more than 25 years, and laying the foundation for increased integration of our efforts and the ability to attract additional extramural funding.”

The inaugural faculty of the MS Center represents the entire spectrum of basic, clinical and translational science as well as a wealth of clinical disciplines, including neurology, immunology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, laboratory medicine and pathology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and radiology. This multidisciplinary group has a long history of working together to advance discoveries from the lab to clinical trials to patient care. The Center’s four goals demonstrate its commitment to this translational chain:

  • Promoting remyelination in MS patients
  • Understanding the immunopathogenesis of MS and related CNS demyelinating disorders through tissue specimens and animal models
  • Understanding the genetic factors that determine whether the disease has a benign or severe course
  • Developing new symptomatic and curative therapies for MS and other demyelinating disorders

The use of plasma exchange for MS patients in crisis, now a standard treatment, was pioneered by Dr. Rodriguez and his Mayo colleagues 15 years ago. More recently, Dr. Rodriguez’ work in remyelination (using antibody therapy to restore the myelin sheath over spinal cord nerves) has reversed neurological damage in mice and given hope to thousands of MS patients.

The Center's complete name will be the Mayo Clinic Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Central Nervous System Demyelinating Diseases Research and Therapeutics.

-- Joan Gorden

Tags: demyelinating diseases, demyelination, Mayo Clinic, Moses Rodriguez, MS, multiple sclerosis, People, Progress Updates, remyelination, research


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