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.