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Researchers establish a network of Multiple Sclerosis researchers and clinicians to advance the state of Multiple Sclerosis Care

Researchers establish a network of Multiple Sclerosis researchers and clinicians to advance the state of Multiple Sclerosis Care
Front row, left to right: Samiran Ghosh, Martin Blakely, Amanda English, Maria Fernandez, Leorah Freeman, Amanda Montague, Alexis Kline, Bijal Bala, Sidra Beg. Back row, left to right: Jose-Miguel Yamal, Thomas Millett, Trudy Krause, Jason Freeman.

Researchers at UTHealth Houston have begun a $3 million dollar, 2-year project to develop the Multiple Sclerosis Implementation Network (MSIN), a practice-based research network and learning collaborative of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) researchers and clinicians. Working with partners at UT Austin Dell Medical School, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA), and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, the researchers aim to advance MS research and care across the United States.

“The MSIN brings together a transdisciplinary team of clinicians, scientists, patient advocates, people living with MS, and experts in data science and system integration to accelerate and improve what and how we learn about MS and the implementation of innovations that improve the quality of life of MS patients,” said Maria E. Fernandez, PhD, principal investigator on the project. “The MSIN will bridge the gap between research and practice to better care for patients with MS and address health inequities.”

An estimated 1 million people in the United States are living with MS. MS is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system, often causing issues with vision, coordination, and mobility along with fatigue, depression, and other cognitive issues. The cause of MS is unknown and there is currently no cure, so patients often require long-term care and treatment.

The MSIN aims to improve this care and treatment available to MS patients through three primary aims:

  • Establish the MSIN by bringing clinical partners, researchers, and people living with MS together in a collaborative learning environment and creating a registry of MS patients to support future research;
  • Establish an Implementation Research Program to evaluate and enhance the implementation of evidence-based interventions for MS care;
  • Bring together existing knowledge of optimal MS care with new knowledge obtained through latest research to develop a set of best practices for the field.

"The MSIN is an exciting patient-centric initiative that is first-of-its-kind in multiple sclerosis,” said Leorah Freeman, MD, PhD of Dell Medical School at UT Austin, principal investigator on the project. “Through the creation of a nationwide research network and collaborative learning environment, augmented by the collection of meaningful data from patients and clinicians, MSIN has the potential to transform the way MS care is delivered and to reduce disparities in health and healthcare.”

The MSAA received funding for the MSIN from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. You can learn more by visiting the MSAA website.

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