Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. MS has a prominent neurodegenerative component that is most visible in the progressive phases of the disease and is not amenable to immunomodulatory treatments. We use a translational approach to understand mechanisms leading to neurodegeneration in MS.
Current projects are:
- Mechanisms of neurodegeneration in MS cortex
- Iron-sensitive phase/QSM imaging in multiple sclerosis patients
- Patient-specific neuronal susceptibility to inflammation
Mechanisms of neurodegeneration in MS cortex
Iron-sensitive phase/QSM imaging in multiple sclerosis patients
Patient-specific neuronal susceptibility to inflammation
Recent advances in stem cell research, especially in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, lead to new opportunities for in vitro modeling of neurological diseases. A growing number of studies on familial forms of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are demonstrating that aspects of these diseases can be recapitulated in patient-specific neuronal cultures in vitro.
We are applying this approach to multiple sclerosis, which has a genetically complex, multifactorial etiology. We examine whether iPSC-derived neurons from MS patients with specific clinical phenotypes differ in their vulnerability to inflammation. The goal of these experiments is to create a platform with which we can examine mechanisms of neurodegeneration in MS, prognosticate the risk for neurodegeneration in individual patients and determine the efficacy of neuroprotective treatments for a given patient, thereby creating a personalized approach to MS treatment.