WSU Multiple Sclerosis Center researcher wins young investigator award for focus on retinal pathology in MS

July 15, 2014

Wayne State University Multiple Sclerosis Center research investigator Jessica Chorostecki is one of eight young investigators recognized for outstanding research at the world’s largest multiple sclerosis meeting, to be held in Boston from Sept 10-13.

The Joint meeting of the American Committee for the Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis and the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis is the world’s largest multiple sclerosis meeting, attended by nearly 7,000 participants from more than 60 countries. More than 1,500 scientific papers will be presented.

Eight young investigators selected by an international scientific committee will receive a special award and grant for outstanding research expected to improve the understanding of the disease pathology and help design improved treatments in the future.

Chorostecki’s “Applying Spectral-Domain 3D Optical Coherence Tomography” demonstrated that African-Americans with MS experienced greater loss of retinal nerve fiber layer and macular volume than Caucasians with MS. This is the first study to demonstrate more severe retinal pathology in African-Americans with MS and extends previously published studies showing greater central nervous system injury in African-Americans with MS.

“This study links pathology in the retina, a multi-neural tissue, with the pathology in the central nervous system,” Chorostecki said.

“Further critical work is ongoing to investigate the relationship between inflammatory activity in the central nervous system and the retina in patients with MS that may provide clues in optimally monitoring disease and better therapeutic strategies,” said Dr. Omar Khan, M.D., professor and chair of the WSU Department of Neurology, who thanked the Sastry Foundation for supporting this seminal work.

Dr. Khan added that only recently are investigators beginning to appreciate the close relationship between retinal and brain pathology, especially in neuroinflamamtory and neurodegenerative disorders.

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