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revised 30-Sep-2016

Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis

 

Multiple Sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system in the pediatric population have received an increasing level of attention by clinicians and researchers in recent years. Qualities of the pediatric population such as close proximity to biological disease onset and maturing innate and adaptive immune pathways provide unique opportunities to study disease pathogenesis. The opportunity to conduct high-impact research in this area is best pursued through multi-institutional collaborations given the low incidence of these diseases in the pediatric population.  

Network Formation

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) established a nationwide network of six Pediatric MS Centers in 2006 to provide comprehensive evaluation and care to children and teens (up to age 18) with MS and related central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating disorders. In 2010, the Data Coordinating and Analysis Center at the University of Utah was added to the network. Today,  twelve network clinical centers are engaged in research to better understand the cause(s) of MS, the characteristics of these disorders in children, and how best to treat children with MS.

The NPMSC mission is to uncover the key pathogenic mechanisms underlying MS through the study of pediatric MS. The NPMSC is advancing the understanding of MS disease processes by leveraging the unique features of an adult disease when clinically presenting in children and adolescents.

 

Network Organization

 

The NPMSC is comprised of twelve Clinical Centers and a Data Coordinating and Analysis Center. Various Affiliate Centers participate in individual NPMSC studies and activities and are encouraged to submit research proposals and participate in Difficult Case Webinars.

 

The Network is broadly governed by the NPMSC Steering Committee that is comprised of one Principal Investigator and optional Co-Principal Investigator from each of the twelve Clinical Centers and the Data Coordinating and Analysis Center.  Sub-committees are accountable to the Steering Committee in the following areas:

                   -   Network Strategy

                   -   MRI Repository

                   -   Biospecimen Repository

                   -   Feasibility and Budget

                   -   Engaging New Investigators

 

Priority Research Areas

 

    1.  Determine etiology and predictors of acquired pediatric demyelinating diseases.

    2.  Define causes and consequences of cognitive dysfunction in pediatric MS.

    3.  Identify determinants of disability accural in pediatric MS.

    4.  Identify distinct injury and repair mechanisms in younger patients to better treat MS.