Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Clinic

Resources for Families

Research

What kind of research does the CHOP Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Clinic conduct?

Our team is actively involved in research studies to improve your child’s care. Our research coordinator, Gerry Liu, will contact you a few days prior to your visit to discuss your child’s eligibility for these studies. Some of the studies for which we are currently enrolling involve non-invasive tests. All our studies will be explained in detail at the time of your visit. If you cannot participate in these studies on the day of your appointment, you may participate at a later date.

Our Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Clinic is actively enrolling patients and healthy controls in a wide range of exciting studies. Please call 267-425-0144 or e-mail Danielle Boyce, Clinical Research Project Manager, at boyced1@mail.chop.edu, for more information.

The purpose of our research studies is to learn more about childhood demyelination. In children with demyelination, immune cells (cells that normally fight infection) attack the brain, back of the eyes, or spine. Although the cause of demyelination is not known, it is more common in North American children compared to children in other parts of the world.

We would like to know why demyelination occurs and better understand how demyelination affects children and teenagers. To do this, we need to ask detailed questions about a child’s early life, environment, diet and activities.

Genetic factors (genes are inherited from parent to child and are the instructions that tell cells how to function) may also be important and can be studied by asking questions about the health of the family and by obtaining a sample of DNA, which allows study of specific genes. We also study the immune cells themselves, which can be done through a blood test and by obtaining a mouth swab.

To understand how demyelination affects the brain, some of our studies involve special pictures of the brain, called magnetic resonance images (MRI), and detailed pictures of the eyes, called optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Most parents ask “will my child be okay after this illness?” We carefully assess all children and teenagers, not only at the time of demyelination, but several times in the years that follow. Since the brain is responsible for learning and thinking, some of our studies involve an evaluation of cognitive abilities (such as memory, language and reasoning skills).

Social workers at CHOP

Social workers can help families who are struggling with a diagnosis or need help with concrete resources or access to services (school, disability services, equipment, insurance, medical assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), etc.). Our social worker can be reached at 267-426-9649.

Websites

For more information about multiple sclerosis, visit the websites listed below.

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