The goal of the TNRC is to bring bench findings to the bedside through the identification of new biomarkers, algorithms and therapeutic targets for neuroimmunological diseases including MS, pediatric MS and neuromyelitis optica. Many of our inspirations for our studies come from direct clinical experience and observations made in clinical cohorts.
Below are current areas of research focus:
The CLIMB Study
The CLIMB study is a unique comprehensive longitudinal study of over 2000 MS patients followed at the Partners MS Center, which includes biosamples and neuroimaging data. Dr. Chitnis is the Director of this study. The CLIMB study has published over 100 publications on the disease course of MS, subtypes of MS patients, biomarkers for MS and neuroimaging studies. Work from the CLIMB study has led the identification of novel biomarkers to distinguish MS from other diseases, new therapeutic targets for treatments, and predictive algorithms for MS disease course.
Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis
We have shown that children with MS have a more inflammatory disease course than adults with MS. We have identified key underlying immunological mechanisms of MS in children in adolescents including Th17 memory cells. Dr. Chitnis has led several international clinical trials in pediatric MS, including the recently published trial of Fingolimod versus B-IFN-1a in NEJM. We are currently studying the immunological mechanisms of other neuroimmunological diseases in children.
Clinical trials in Multiple Sclerosis
Dr. Chitnis is the lead investigator for several novel clinical trials in MS, including trials for progressive MS and pediatric MS.
Sex differences in MS and autoimmune diseases
MS as well as many autoimmune diseases predominantly affect women. We are studying the underlying reasons for these differences including the effect of hormones and environmental factors on the immune system in females and males.
NMO is a neuroimmunological disease which affects the optic nerves and spinal cord predominantly. We are studying the underlying mechanisms of NMO as well as new therapeutic approaches.