Clinical Research Studies

Does the CHOP Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Clinic conduct clinical research?

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, for more information.

How can I find out if my child is eligible to participate in a clinical research study?

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 noninvasive 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.

What is the goal of these clinical research studies?

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.

What might be done if my child participates in a clinical research study?

Our studies may involve the following activities:

  • Asking detailed questions about your child's early life, environment, diet and activities -- This helps us to know why demyelination occurs and to better understand how demyelination affects children and teenagers.
  • Asking questions about the health of your family and obtaining a sample of DNA -- This helps us to study genetic factors, which may also be important in demyelination. Genes are inherited from parent to child and are the instructions that tell cells how to function.
  • Obtaining a blood test and mouth swab -- This helps us to study the immune cells themselves.
  • Obtaining magnetic resonance images (MRI) -- Taking these special images of the brain helps us to understand how demyelination affects the brain.
  • Obtaining optical coherence tomography (OCT) images -- Taking detailed pictures of the eyes can help us to see whether there is a loss of visual acuity.
  • Evaluating cognitive abilities -- Because the brain is responsible for learning and thinking, we carefully assess all children and teenagers at the time of demyelination and several times in the years that follow to see whether they are experiencing any issues with memory, language or reasoning skills. This also helps us answer the question that most parents ask, "Will my child be okay after this illness?" and provide any support that may be needed.