Multiple sclerosis research 

The Queen Square Multiple Sclerosis Centre (QSMSC) unites all the research and care in multiple sclerosis (MS) at University College London Hospital’s National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) and the Institute of Neurology at University College London (UCL).

Activities range from laboratory research into the mechanisms causing MS and developing innovative therapies, through clinical research and trials on new medicines, to clinical services for MS patients.

For more information about the Centre and the latest research taking place, please click here.

How you can get involved…

If you are interested in taking part in our research please talk to your medical consultant about this at your next appointment.

They will know about research studies that are happening at UCLH or the QSMSC and also research studies that are happening locally that you might be able to participate in.

Click here to search current MS clinical trials at UCLH.

 


Latest research news from the Queen Square Multiple Sclerosis Centre

17 April 2015

Epilepsy drug may protect eyesight for people with MS

A UCLH-led clinical trial has found that a drug commonly taken to prevent seizures in epilepsy could also protect the eyesight and slow the accumulation of disability in people with multiple sclerosis.

Researchers from the NHNN and the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield recruited 86 people experiencing early symptoms of acute optic neuritis. The participants received the epilepsy drug phenytoin or a placebo for three months, to assess whether the drug could help to protect nerves from damage.

Optic neuritis causes the nerves carrying information between the eye to the brain to become damaged and inflamed. It can result in sudden total or partial blindness, foggy or blackened vision and pain and is commonly experienced in people with MS.

NHNN consultant Dr Raj Kapoor said: “About half of people with MS experience acute optic neuritis at some point in their life. These are promising results and if our findings our confirmed by larger studies, could lead to a new treatment that may prevent nerve damage. This could bring benefits both in optic neuritis to help protect sight, and elsewhere in the central nervous system to protect against the accumulation of disability in MS.”

Dr Kapoor's team used medical imaging technology to measure the thickness of the optic nerve at the beginning of the study and then six months later. They found on average that the group who took phenytoin had 30 per cent less damage to the nerve fibre layer compared to those who received the placebo. The vast majority of people fully recover from their first episode of optic neuritis and in this trial this was the case for people in both groups.

The trial was the result of 20 years of underpinning research to understand the cause of nerve damage in both optic neuritis and in MS, and to find ways that this could be improved. Phenytoin was identified as a drug which could prevent the degeneration of nerve cells in areas of inflammation throughout the nervous system.

The study was co-funded by the MS Society, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, an unrestricted grant from Novartis, the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network and University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre.