UCSF Awarded Grant for Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center

January 18, 2006
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The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) awarded UCSF Children's Hospital an initial $365,000 grant to establish the first pediatric Multiple Sclerosis (MS) center west of the Rockies. Only one center currently exists -- in Stony Brook, N.Y. -- that is dedicated to children with MS, a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. The NMSS plans to launch 5 other centers in addition to one at UCSF.

"We are enthusiastic about the opportunity for UCSF to participate in a network of similar centers across the United States to improve clinical care of such an under diagnosed disease and to develop future MS research," says Dr. Dorothee Chabas, a UCSF pediatric neurologist and co-investigator of the grant. "The UCSF MS Center and the division of child neurology are strongly committed to improving the care of pediatric and adolescent patients with MS and related diseases."

Since MS is rare in children, pediatric patients are often referred to UCSF's adult Multiple Sclerosis Center. With the inception of a new pediatric center, UCSF hopes to establish a regional clinic that will provide specialized care for patients with MS and related diseases for patients under the age of 18. The center will be strongly connected with the adult center to promote smooth transition for patients as they reach adulthood.

"Our program is mainly clinical but also includes educational goals and on the far end, research projects to better understand and treat MS and related diseases in children," says Chabas. "We plan to also develop tools for education of patients, families, community providers and other members of the healthcare team. The development of such tools will be done in collaboration with other pediatric MS programs supported by and affiliated with NMSS."

Other collaborators on the project include: Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant, Dr. Donna Ferriero, Dr. Jonathan Strober, Dr. Daniel Pelletier, Dr. Jim Barkovitch, Dr. Jorge Oksenberg, Kimberly Erlich, Mary Crittendon and Andrew High.