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Mayo Clinic

Dr. Sean Pittock

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sean Pittock

Project Title: Bench to Bedside Investigation of Aquaporin
(AQP4) Autoimmunity Epidemiology and Translation

Dr. Claudia Lucchinetti

Principal Investigator: Dr. Claudia Lucchinetti

Project Title: Synergistic Interactions between Astrocytes,
Eosinophils and AQP4-IgG in NMO

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a devastating and poorly understood inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that resembles multiple sclerosis but has several distinctive characteristics. These differences convinced Mayo Clinic investigators that detailed study of NMO from a fresh perspective might bring new insights to the entire field of multiple sclerosis-like diseases. The Mayo NMO Consortium has coalesced over the past decade as an interactive team of clinical and basic investigators with a common interest in neurological autoimmunity and neuroprotection. The complementary expertise of our consortium (clinical, pathological, immunological, epidemiological and genetic) has spawned a coordinated effort to understand NMO.

The goals of the Mayo NMO Consortium are to:

  • Uncover the genetic and biological factors that lead to development of NMO
  • Define the pathophysiologic mechanisms that are unique to NMO
  • Produce animal models of the disease
  • Develop novel and specific therapeutics based on our discoveries in pathophysiology

The consortium is developing a central repository of NMO patient-derived data and biospecimens as the basis for future and ongoing research with national and international collaborators. Infrastructure provided by the Guthy-Jackson Foundation facilitates integration of clinical and basic research activities, including development of novel antibody tests for early identification of and prediction of the course of disease, development of authentic animal models to explore new therapeutic approaches and design of clinical trials to test the efficacy of new therapies.

The Mayo Team members:

  • Vanda A. Lennon, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Immunology and Neurology,
    Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  • Brian G. Weinshenker, M.D., Professor of Neurology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  • Sean J. Pittock, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology, Mayo Clinic College
    of Medicine
  • Claudia F. Lucchinetti, M.D., Professor of Neurology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  • Charles L. Howe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

Website: http://www.mayoclinic.org/devics-disease/diagnosis.html