Clinical Support

Brandi Carrico, Research Assistant II
Jim Jemelka, Research Coordinator

If you wish to participate in any of the trials or have general questions please contact our research coordinator at 713.500.7045.

Currently Enrolling Investigational Studies

Primary Investigator: J. William Lindsey, MD
Sponsor: Alkermes Pharmaceuticals
A phase 3 study in subjects with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis to Evaluate the Tolerability of Alks 8700 and Dimethyl Fumarate. Patients with RRMS who want to try a new oral drug for MS which is similar to Tecfidera, are eligible. Patients who have discontinued Tecfidera due to side effects are not eligible for this study.

Primary Investigator: J. William Lindsey, MD
Sponsor: Biogen
The objective of this study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of BIIB033 used as an add-on therapy to anti-inflammatory disease modifying therapies (DMTs) in subjects with relapsing remitting MS. Sponsor: Biogen. Patients must be stable for 6 months on Interferonβ, Tecfidera or Tysabri, must have had a clinical relapse within 2 years of enrollment and must meet MRI criteria.

Primary Investigator: J. William Lindsey, MD
Sponsor: Atara Biotherapeutics
The objectives of this Phase 1 study are to evaluate the safety and tolerability of ATA188 as a monotherapy in subjects with relapsing and progressive forms of MS, and to determine recommended dose for phase 2. Patients must test positive for Epstein-Barr virus and participate in other pre-screening blood tests to ensure availability of appropriate matched study treatment. Relapsing MS patients must have failed a health authority approved therapy.

Primary Investigator: John Lincoln, MD, PhD
Sponsor: Sanofi Genzyme
A 24-Month Observational Study to Evaluate Neurocognitive Function and Safety in Patients with Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis Who are Initiating LEMTRADA® (Alemtuzamab) Treatment in Routine Clinical Practice. The decision for initiating this treatment is taken prior to and independently from the proposal to enroll in this study and in line with the respective local prescribing information. There will be a screening period of up to 30 days followed by a 24-month observation period for each patient. Patients who meet the eligibility criteria will be included in the study prior to the first course of LEMTRADA in order to collect baseline data. The battery of tests will be repeated at 12 months and 24 months. Interested patients who have been prescribed LEMTRADA should contact Dr. Lincoln prior to starting treatment.

Enhanced Cerebral Perfusion with Oral Acetazolamide
Primary Investigator: John Lincoln, MD, PhD
Whole brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is routinely utilized to monitor both the degree of focal injury, seen as bright areas on T2-weighted sequences (T2 hyperintense lesion), and permanent tissue damage, seen as dark areas on T1-weighted sequences (T1 hypointense lesion). Global and regional changes in blood flow to the brain (cerebral perfusion) have been seen early in patients with both relapsing and progressive forms of MS. Studies have suggested that diminished cerebral perfusion contributes to permanent tissue damage, seen on MRI as T1 hypointense lesion or “black holes” and correlates with clinical disability in persons with MS. In this study patients with MS will be treated with oral acetazolamide at different doses and obtain MRI to determine how much and in which regions of the brain cerebral perfusion improves. We will also evaluate how improved cerebral blood flow affects the way in which newly formed MS lesions evolve into black holes. Patients with relapsing MS who are stable on any of the approved injectable disease modifying therapies may be eligible to participate.

North American Registry for Care and Research in MS (NARCRMS)
The purpose of NARCRMS is to establish a national registry and longitudinal database of clinical and patient-based information related to multiple sclerosis. It seeks to establish “Cores” of repositories of clinical, genetic, and radiological data, and various biomaterials for developing biomarkers for this disorder across the United States as well as to develop “Research Interest Groups” (RIGS) from within the participating centers to promote collaborative efforts to utilize the data as they become available, to address specific unanswered questions in this disorder. Enrollment to begin in Summer 2016.

Epstein-Barr Virus & MS
Primary Investigator: J. WIlliam Lindsey, M.D.
EBV is a common virus which has been linked to MS in several different studies. Some people think that EBV may be one of the causes of MS. Dr. Lindsey is investigating the connection between EBV and MS and is currently comparing the immune response to EBV in MS and controls. Participants will donate a blood sample to be used for measurements of EBV-specific antibodies.

Other Research Projects in Progress

Track MS Initiative

MRI brain scan
Primary Investigator: Léorah Freeman, MD The long-term goal of the Track MS initiative is to facilitate the widespread use of key MRI measurements in the clinical setting for the benefit of patients with MD. As a first step, we are currently developing robust MRI monitoring tools to automatically measure lesion burden, lesion change over time, brain atrophy and other markers such as brain perfusion. Next we will determine the best markers to predict patient outcome and treatment response. Finally we will create a platform to apply these prediction measures to all MS patients in our clinic. (Illustration of automated detection of new lesions using MRI subtraction software)
Role of grey matter hypoperfusion in subsequent brain atrophy
Primary Investigator: Léorah Freeman, MD, PhD In a recent study, Dr. Freeman demonstrated that MS patients who later develop significant brain atrophy (a marker of disease progression) present decreased cerebral blood flow early on. Cerebral hypoperfusion is a potential link between inflammation and neurodegeneration in MS. In the upcoming months, Dr. Freeman will study the role of Endothelin-1, a potent vasoconstrictor produced by activated astrocytes, in the development of cerebral hypoperfusion in MS patients and its relation to markers of both inflammation and tissue damage.

G.E.M.S: Group Exercise in MS – A collaborative project between UT Neurology, the YMCA of Greater Houston and the National MS Society Texas Chapter
The objective of the GEMS project is to develop an MS-specific, easily accessible 12-week exercise program for people with MS. Currently in the design phase, the program will include aquatics, yoga, strength and balance training, stretching and education sessions. Once designed, the efficacy of the program will be evaluated by a formal controlled study with physical and radiological endpoints. The pilot study will take place at Trotter YMCA. Recruitment will open in fall 2016/winter 2017. Our long-term goal is to offer this program throughout the city and possibly the state of Texas!