The Clinical Neuroimmunology group under the direction of Prof. Dr. Friedemann Paul investigates inflammatory and autoimmune diseases of the nervous system such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO). The team carries out numerous studies to improve diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis and other diseases. The main focus is on developing so-called neuroprotective (nerve cell protecting) treatment approaches and establishing modern examination procedures such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), OCT (optical coherence tomography) and motion analysis.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is considered the most common chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and primarily affects young adults. The disease is caused by autoimmune processes, meaning the body's immune system recognizes its own nervous system as "foreign" and causes an inflammatory reaction, resulting in damage to nerve cells and axons with their enveloping protective layer. Many different neurological symptoms, including paralysis, visual disturbances, abnormal sensations or balance problems, can occur.
The Clinical Neuroimmunology team focuses on developing and establishing new disease course and prognostic markers for MS. This includes, for example, improving possibilities in the field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultra-high field MRI, or establishing new imaging techniques such as optical coherence tomography (OCT). The team is also interested in developing new tools for analysing movement disorders.
Because there is as yet no cure for MS, treatment strategies center primarily on improving symptoms and disease course. Accordingly, another area of the team’s activity is the development and conduct of clinical trials with the aim of improving treatment options in MS. This includes phase II to IV drug trials, which are carried out on our own or in collaboration with industry, and new non-drug treatment strategies, for example, in the treatment of depression and fatigue in MS.
Susac’s syndrome was first described in 1979. It is a rare and still poorly understood disorder of small blood vessels that mainly affects the brain, the retina of the eye, and the inner ear.
Typical symptoms include hearing and vision problems, as well as a variety of neurological problems such as memory and concentration disorders, behavioral changes, loss of balance, abnormal sensations, and paralysis, among others. The disease course can be quite diverse. It often comes to a stop after a few years, although for many patients a more or less significant disability remains. Treatment is primarily with immunosuppressive drugs.
The Clinical Neuroimmunology group is one of the few centers in Europe with a research focus on Susac’s syndrome. The main focuses of scientific interest are the mechanisms leading to Susac’s syndrome, diagnosis of the disease, and improvement of the therapeutic possibilities.
The group is a founding member of the European Susac Consortium (EUSAC). More information on Susac’s syndrome and EUSAC can be found at: http://www.eusac.net.
- Clinic for Neurology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Prof. Dr. M. Endres, Prof. Dr. L. Harms, Prof. Dr. H. Audebert, PD Dr. K. Ruprecht, PD Dr. H. Prüss, PD Dr. C. Finke)
- Experimental and Clinical Research Center Berlin, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin und Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (Prof. Dr. T. Niendorf, Dr. C. Infante)
- Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Berlin (Prof. Dr. J. Haynes)
- Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology, University Hospital Muenster (PD Dr. Th. Duning, Dr. I. Kleffner, Prof. Dr. H. Wiendl))
- Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (Prof. Dr. C. Heesen)
- Clinic for Neurology, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (Prof. Dr. O. Aktas, PD Dr. P. Albrecht, Dr. M. Ringelstein, Prof. Dr. H.-P. Hartung)
- Clinic for Neurology, Ruprecht-Karls University, Heidelberg (Dr. S. Jarius, Prof. Dr. B. Wildemann)
- Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology of the University of Ulm (Prof. Dr. H. Tumani, Prof. Dr. v. Arnim)
- Department of Neurology with focus on neurovascular diseases, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University Hospital of the Eberhard-Karls University Tübingen (Prof. U. Ziemann)
- Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden (PD Dr. T. Ziemssen)
- Department of Neuropathology, University Medical Center Göttingen (Prof. Dr. W. Brück)
- Clinic for Neurology, University Hospital Zurich (Dr. S. Schippling)
- Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin (Prof. Dr. H. Dietze)
- Neurology Department, Mayo Clinic, USA (Prof. B. Weinshenker)
- Department of Neurosciences, Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi I Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona Spain (Prof. Dr. P. Villoslada)
- Department of Neurobiology, Weizman Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (Prof. Dr. A. Zangen)
- Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel (Prof. Y. Moudim, Dr. S. Mandel)
- Motognosis GmbH Berlin (A. Brandt)
- Heidelberg Engineering GmbH, Heidelberg
- Brainsway, Jerusalem, Israel
- Hadassah Medical Center, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel (Prof. T. Ben-Hur, Dr. N. Levin, Dr. N. Raz, Dr. S. Arzi)