Devic’s disease

Immunological and molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of Devic’s disease
2007 Seed Grant
Adil Javed, M.D., Ph.D.
The University of Chicago

Devic’s disease is a devastating disease of the brain and the spinal cord that causes recurrent bouts of intense inflammation of the visual pathways and spinal cord, resulting in blindness and paralysis.  Devic’s disease is often thought of as a variant form of multiple sclerosis (MS), and is often treated with the same drugs used for treating MS.  However, patients generally do not respond to such treatment.  There is some data suggesting that Devic’s disease is more similar to diseases such as lupus and a lupus-like condition called Sjögren’s disease.  Dr. Adil Javed, Department of Neurology, plans to characterize the relationship between Devic’s disease and Sjögren’s disease, using histological and molecular methods.  If this study demonstrates a relationship between these diseases, then Devic’s disease may be viewed as a form of Sjögren’s disease, not a form of MS.  Correct diagnosis of this condition will lead to early and appropriate drug treatment.  More importantly, this would translate into better recovery for the patients and less healthcare costs.

The research proposed in this grant is expected to have a significant impact on the care of patients with Devic’s disease. The results from this study are expected to show that Devic’s disease is very different from multiple sclerosis, and it is a form of Sjogren’s disease. Correct diagnosis of this condition will lead to early and appropriate drug treatment. This would translate into better recovery for the patients and less healthcare costs. Patients with Devic’s disease have severe neurological deficits and require prolonged hospitalization and rehabilitation. If appropriate treatment is started early, then it could mean less hospitalization and rehabilitation stay for the patients.

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The role of microglial lysosomes in selective neuronal vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the nervous system constructs internal models of the external world
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the orchestra of movement—functional role of striatal astrocytes in health and disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…