Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that causes loss of the protective sheath (myelin) around nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord.
On average MS onset occurs at age 32, but in some cases it has been known to start in the teenage years. The loss of myelin continues over time, progressing at different rates in different people. In some cases, the disease can be severely disabling with symptoms including impaired vision, loss of mobility and impaired cognition.
The MBC-RMH MS research group is committed to understanding the cause of MS, developing predictors of disease progression, and to improve disease-modifying and symptomatic MS treatments to ultimately improve quality of life for patients.
Associate Professor Tomas Kalincik
Associate professor Tomas Kalincik is the head of the Clinical Outcomes Research (CORe) Unit at the MBC-RMH and the Head of the Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He has led a number of international collaborative research projects of comparative treatment effectiveness, management of treatment failure and individual treatment response in multiple sclerosis.
His main research interests span treatment outcomes in multiple sclerosis, individualised therapy, prognostics, epidemiology and utility of volumetric MRI in MS. Together with the CORe team, he specialises in analytics of observational data in neurology.
Professor Trevor Kilpatrick
Trevor Kilpatrick is a Professor of Neurology and Clinical Director of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. He is also a neurologist and Head of the Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Professor Kilpatrick is an internationally recognised expert in the molecular and cellular neuroscience of myelination, demyelinating disease and neural regeneration, as well as the aetiology and pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS).
His research interests include the neurobiology of multiple sclerosis, neural precursor cell biology and the study of genetic and environmental factors that contribute to MS as well as the translation of basic research discoveries to the clinic.
It has been two very busy years for the MS research group. Major activities include:
Established that early active immunotherapy delays conversion to secondary progressive disease stage in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (in collaboration with MSBase and University of Cambridge) - featured by 3AW Radio, Herald Sun and editorials in JAMA and JAMA Neurology.
Completed the first comparison of high-efficacy therapies for MS - featured by Channel 7, Neurology Today and an editorial in The Lancet Neurology (in collaboration with MSBase)
Developed a prototype of a predictive algorithm will help clinicians identify the MS treatment for individual patients at a given time with the best predicted individual effectiveness - featured by Neurology Today and Herald Sun (in collaboration with MSBase)
Received an NHMRC project grant to fund development of biomarkers in the prototype predictive algorithm of treatment response (in collaboration with MSBase, Karolinska Institute, University of Basel and Charles University in Prague)
Established coparative effectiveness of natalizumab and alemtuzumab - which are among the most potent immunotherapies for MS, and three available oral immunotherapies for relapsing-remitting MS (in collaboration with MSBase and University of Cambridge)
Collaborated with the Department of Radiology to quantify the improvement in the accuracy of reporting new MS lesions after implementation of automated lesion-detection software (in collaboration with A/Prof Frank Gaillard)
Hosted research fellows from Cambridge UK, French MS Registry (OFSEP), University of Basel, University of Genoa, Charles University in Prague and the Danish National MS Registry
Involved in a number of clinical trials of new and emerging immunotherapies for MS
Professor Kilpatrick was Speaker at the 2018 Global MS Lunch -“Kiss Goodbye to MS” hosted by the Gisborne Rotary Club.
The MS Unit at the RMH has been interacting with patient and consumer groups through the delivery of public lectures and participating in patient-centred activities (organised by Multiple Sclerosis Australia, MStranslate and with Rotary). The MS Unit works closely with media outlets, including MStranslate, the 7.30 report and BRAINtranslate (communicating scientific content to general audience) and its work has received media attention in Australia (Channel 7, Channel 10, Herald Sun) as well as overseas (NEJM Journal Watch, Neurology Today and media in Europe).