The research activities pursued at the RMH MS Centre are varied. Our associated research streams include the following:

MS Clinical Trials

Led by Dr Mark Marriott

The RMH MS Centre is committed to conduct randomised clinical trials of emerging immunotherapies for MS and neuroimmunological conditions. Clinical trials allow us to generate novel clinical evidence with impact on clinical care globally. It also provides patients with access to the latest advances in immunotherapeutics in neurology. Patients treated at the RMH MS Centre are often approached with opportunities to participate in research to help improve the diagnosis, follow-up and management of their condition.

Clinical Outcomes Research unit (CORe)

Led by A/Prof Tomas Kalincik

With the use of advanced statistical methods, CORe specialises on translating information obtained from patient registries, observational databases and clinical practice into evidence. Such evidence helps clinicians around the world manage patients with neurological conditions more efficiently. CORe works with specialists in MS and neuroimmunology, neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, neurodegenerative diseases, epilepsy, movement disorders, neuroophthalmology and neurosurgery. In particular, we focus on studying effectiveness of different therapies, prognostics in neurological conditions and developing personalised approaches to their treatment.

For further information, please visit the Clinical Outcomes Research (CORe) website.

Neuroimmunology and Remyelination Laboratory

Located at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and the University of Melbourne

Led by Prof Trevor Kilpatrick

Our goal is to avert progressive MS, recognising that this requires a deep understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease. We have identified important, novel targets to enable enhanced remyelination and modulation of the innate immune system to promote repair and to limit damage. Collaborative work between Prof Kilpatrick and Michele Binder (Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health) focuses on the TAM (Tyro3, Axl and Mertk) receptor kinases, whilst Drs Simon Murray and Junhua Xiao (Anatomy and Neuroscience) are developing and analysing small molecule mimetics of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BNF). The work will extend to disease modelling and the testing of cellular therapeutic approaches that we aim to translate into the clinic.

Read more about activities being undertaken under the umbrella of MS Melbourne on the Florey Institute website.

MS & Neuroimmunology Clinical Research program

Led by various investigators

We study a number of clinically relevant questions in MS and neuroimmunological conditions. This research utilises clinical and biological information obtained from patients treated at the RMH MS Centre. Our research activities include diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of MS as well as rarer conditions, such as neuroimmunological disease, cerebral vasculitis, autoimmune encephalitis, myasthenia gravis and others. We study safety of immune therapies, ways to optimise their use in clinical practice. We evaluate diagnostic and prognostic value of MRI, histological features and biomarkers in neurological conditions. Multiple projects are available to students, clinician trainees and young researchers.

Education and training

MS Clinical & Research Fellowship

The RMH MS Centre offers a 1-year clinical and research fellowship to an Australian-trained neurology trainee who has completed core years of neurology training. We will consider competitive overseas-trained applicants with appropriate AHPRA registration and valid immigration arrangements. The Fellow will develop skills in the diagnosis and management of patients with MS and other neuroimmunological disorders through participation in MS and neuroimmunology clinics, MS treatment safety assessments, Day Medical Centre, neuro-ophthalmology clinic, general neurology clinic, as well as involvement in care for patients admitted into Neurology ward. The research component of the fellowship will enable the fellow to pursue a research project under one of the MS & Neuroimmunology program’s research units. There may be scope for ancillary training depending on the interests of the trainee, e.g. neuromuscular, neurorehabilitation.

Neurooncology and Neuroimmunology Clinical & Research Fellowship

A 1-year clinical and research fellowship in Neurooncology and Neuroimmunology is available to an Australian-trained neurology trainee who has completed core years of neurology training. We will consider competitive overseas-trained applicants with appropriate AHPRA registration and valid immigration arrangements. The Fellow will develop skills in diagnosis and management of neurological complications of oncological conditions and their treatment. They will also develop skills in the diagnosis and management of patients with MS and neuroimmunological conditions. This Fellowship is established in conjunction with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. The Fellow will be involved in the cutting-edge CAR T-cell treatment program and will manage inpatient referrals of neurooncological conditions. They will participate in neurooncology clinic, MS and neuroimmunology clinics, MS treatment safety assessments, Day Medical Centre and general neurology clinic. The research component of the fellowship (50%) will enable the fellow to pursue a research projects under one of the MS & Neuroimmunology program’s research units.

Degrees and projects

The unit offers opportunities for students to pursue a wide range of clinical and laboratory research projects as part of their degree: honours, masters, doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of philosophy (PhD). We will consider applicants with both basic science and clinical focus. A transition into a clinical PhD program will be considered for competitive clinical fellows (see above). Please see above for the overview of our research portfolio and relevant contacts.

Funders and sponsors

ARC
Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation
Biogen
Merck
MRFF
MS Society of the UK
Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia
National MS Society of the USA
NHMRC
Perpetual Philanthropic Services
RMH Neuroscience Foundation
Teva