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Multiple Sclerosis Research

Investigator-Initiated Series

  • DREAM cohort: Detection Research in Early Asymptomatic MS is an ongoing, observational study working to discover the earliest immune changes that ultimately cause MS by bringing together a cohort of close relatives of people with MS. If you have a family member with MS and want to find out more, take our pre-screening survey at
  • The CAVS study: An MRI study examining a new technique, the "central vein sign," as a way of distinguishing MS lesions from other types of brain lesions.
  • A study to identify changes that occur in the immune cells within lymph nodes (as compared to cells in the blood) for several different conditions, including after vaccination.
  • A study identifying changes that occur in the immune cells within the gastrointestinal tract (as compared to cells) in the blood by taking small biopsies of the colon during routine colonoscopies.
  • A study examining the immune response to COVID-19 vaccination among patients with autoimmune diseases who are taking immune-suppressing medication
  • A study of how the gut microbiome changes in persons with MS and in response to MS medications

Interested in participating in one of our research studies? Reach out to us at!

Industry-Sponsored Clinical Trials

  • The Brain Shuttle study: A phase I study to investigate the intravenous administration of R07121932 in patients with MS. This medication is similar to the approved medication, ocrelizumab (Ocrevus©), but it has been attached to a "Brain Shuttle," which should let the medication access the brain more effectively than the currently used medication. Now Recruiting!
  • The FENTRIPID clinical trial: A study of fenebrutinib for adult patients with primary progressive MS. Fenebrutinib is a member of a new class of medications called BTK inhibitors. It is being compared to a currently approved medication, ocrelizumab (Ocrevus©), in this clinical trial ( Identifier: NCT04544449). Now Recruiting!
  • CONSONANCE clinical trial: A study of ocrelizumab (Ocrevus©) in patients older than 65 years who have primary or secondary progressive MS ( Identifier: NCT03523858)
  • An observational study of ocrelizumab (Ocrevus©)-treated MS patients to determine the incidence and mortality rates of breast cancer and other malignancies

Ongoing Research

  • Biorepository – The biorepository collects blood and tissue samples for research purposes.
Interested in participating in one of our research studies? Reach out to us at!

The Chairman of the Yale Department of Neurology is world-renowned Professor David A. Hafler, MD. Dr. Hafler's research has greatly advanced the understanding of the function of the immune system in MS, of the relationship between MS and other autoimmune diseases, and the genetic underpinnings of MS in relation to autoimmune diseases. Researchers in Dr. Hafler's lab are exploring the role of dietary salt and body fat in multiple sclerosis, examining immune cells across the spectrum of MS at a single-cell level, and performing cutting-edge research about MS genetics. Newly diagnosed MS patients are invited to contribute to this research by donating blood, stool, fat tissue, and/or spinal fluid.

For more information about Dr. Hafler's work, see his laboratory website.

At the time of a MS diagnosis, there is usually evidence that the disease started causing neurologic damage well before it caused any symptoms. The research conducted by Erin Longbrake, MD, PhD focuses on this very early-stage disease. She is interested in identifying ways o screen for MS before it starts, and identifying individuals at high risk for the disease before it has a chance to cause symptoms. She is interested in the microbiome as one possible factor that could influence the development of MS. Dr. Longbrake is the PI of a multicenter, national clinical trial aimed at determining whether short-term use of a MS medication, ocrelizumab (Ocrevus©), can prevent MS from developing for patients who have suggestive brain lesions (radiologically isolated syndrome) but no clinical symptoms of MS ( Identifier: NCT04877457). Dr. Longbrake is also leading efforts to study how MS patients - particularly those on B-cell depleting medications - respond to COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information about Dr. Longbrake's work, see her laboratory website.

One root cause of MS-related disability is neurodegeneration, yet the cause for this neurodegeneration is not well understood. The research of David Pitt, MD is aimed at better understanding this phenomenon. His lab is studying the impact of genetic risk factors on inflammation and neurodegeneration in the brain and spinal cord.

For more information about Dr. Pitt’s work, see his laboratory website.

While it has become clear that B-cells play an important role in MS, many of the details regarding exactly how they contribute remain to be discovered. The lab of Kevin O’Connor, PhD works to define the mechanisms by which B-cells and the antibodies they produce cause tissue damage in MS, neuromyelitis optica (NMO), and other autoimmune diseases.

For more information about Dr. O’Connor’s work, see his laboratory website.