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MS Research Study Alert: Did You Have A Brain Biopsy To Confirm Your Diagnosis? Investigators Seeking Tissue Samples Previously Obtained from People with MS and Similar Diseases

December 15, 2014

Summary:  In order to discover the triggers of MS, National MS Society-funded investigators at the University of Utah are seeking to collect existing brain biopsy tissue from individuals nationwide who underwent a brain biopsy to diagnose an episode of “acute demyelinating disease,” including multiple sclerosis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, optic neuritis, or clinically isolated syndrome.  The researchers will arrange for the transfer of the tissue. No visits to the University of Utah are needed.

Please note: The investigators are not asking people to obtain brain biopsies. They are seeking permission to study biopsy tissue already obtained for the purpose of diagnosis.  Individuals agreeing to participate will need to sign informed consent agreements; this can be done on the phone, by mail, or by email. Clinical information relevant to the study will be collected over the phone, by email, or through other electronic methods.

Rationale: University of Utah School of Medicine researchers, led by John D. Kriesel, MD,  are looking for signs of genetic material from viruses in brain samples from individuals with possible early-stage MS to identify a possible trigger of the disease. The study, funded by the National MS Society, focuses on people at this early stage to improve chances of identifying a possible disease trigger.. If successful, this study could spur new diagnostic strategies, new treatments, and even strategies to prevent MS.

Eligibility and Details:  This group is collecting and studying brain tissue samples that have been previously obtained, and are usually stored in a hospital pathology department.  No visits to the University of Utah Hospital are needed.  Informed consent for participation is required; this can be done on the phone and by mail.  Clinical information relevant to the study may be collected over the phone, by email, or through other electronic methods.  If a microbe (bacteria or virus) is identified, the results will be reported only through a treating physician.  This is academic research which is voluntary, confidential, and not for profit, approved and supervised by the University of Utah Institutional Review Board.  No compensation will be provided.

Contact: To learn more about this study, and to find out if your existing tissue sample can be used by these researchers, please contact Bryce Moulton, at (801) 587-3831 or

Without participants in research studies, MS research would come to a standstill. Read more here

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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