The Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Division encompasses clinical programs for patients, clinical research, and basic science programs across multiple departments. Our mission is to provide exceptional care for patients, accelerate clinical and basic science research, and educate current and future care practitioners. We have an immense collaboration with programs from our own institution and around the world. The program is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our patients and families who face their conditions with bravery and resolve every day.
Our clinical programs treat adult and pediatric patients with multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, neuromyelitis optica, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, optic neuritis, and other autoimmune conditions of the nervous system. Our clinics offer comprehensive care for our patients with physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, social workers and staff. We see patients from North Texas and from around the world.
An integral part of the MS/Neuroimmunology Program is our extensive basic science research endeavors. Multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, neuromyelitis optica, and other autoimmune conditions have some unique features and some biologic processes that overlap. Research labs at UT Southwestern have made breakthrough discoveries relative to the immune systems ability to suppress autoimmunity, antibody production by the immune system within spinal fluid, the effect of medications on the immune system in MS patients, and the effect of heat on patient functioning and various studies to develop biomarkers of disease.
Fellows receive comprehensive training in the clinical evaluation and management of the MS patient and related disorders (e.g. neuromyelitis optica, neurosarcoid, CNS vasculitis, Susac’s, transverse myelitis). The complete range of immune-modulating therapies is employed, allowing the fellow to participate in varied treatment approaches and understand different rationales in managing patients with breakthrough disease.
Training will also emphasize neuro-ophthalmologic and neuro-vestibular examination techniques; innovative symptom management of fatigue, spasticity, bowel and bladder dysfunction, sexual difficulties, mood disorders, pain, osteoporosis, and assistive device utilization; and the logistics of working within a multi-disciplinary team.
Participation in and design of clinical trials will be encouraged, as well as matriculation through graduate level courses with formal didactic teaching on evaluation and design of clinical trials (UT Southwestern has the first NIH sponsored Clinical Investigator Development Program headed by Milton Packer, M.D., formerly of Columbia University). Other opportunities in basic science research can also be arranged.
The UT Southwestern Clinical Center for MS, Transverse Myelitis/Neuromyelitis Optica is a dedicated 6,000 square foot clinical facility that is equipped with eleven exam rooms, two MRI consultation areas, a procedure room, a bone and bladder lab, an ocular motor physiology lab, an optic nerve facility and extensive support personnel.
Our dedicated team is comprised of seven neurologists, six clinic/research nurses, two neuro-ophthalmology technicians, three physician-assistants, a nurse practitioner and two dedicated MS social workers. During any given week, each member of our team is encouraged to engage in a myriad of activities consistent with an academic center of excellence: patient care, global disease management, teaching, writing, and research.
The Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Clinic was established in 2009 and provides inpatient and outpatient care to children and adolescents with multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, neuromyelitis optica, optic neuritis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and other autoimmune conditions. The outpatient clinic is located at the Children’s Outpatient Pavillion next to Children’s Medical Center. Clinics are staffed by neurologist, physician assistants, neuropsychologists, nurses, ophthalmology technicians, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers and a school liaison. The clinic is dedicated to the complex care that patients under the age of 18 require. The service also consults on patients admitted to Children’s Medical Center.