Discovering the “triggers” of MS

The purpose of this study is to identify the initial triggering event that causes MS. Triggers might include: exposure to pathogenic (harmful) bacteria or viruses; changes in immune regulation (the way in which the body protects itself from acquiring a disease or infection); metabolism changes; or an as yet unidentified environmental stimulus.

To understand those triggers, the investigators will collect data at UCSF in the form of biological samples, MRI scans and other health information from individuals as close to symptom onset of the neurological event as is feasible (but no later than 90 days from first symptom onset).

We hope to identify changes in the microbiome (the ecosystem of microorganisms that reside in the human body) and immunome (genes, proteins, and cells that respond to events in the body). This investigation should provide clues or answers to the triggers of MS.

This study also has the potential to help understand other diseases; if we are able to understand the trigger for MS we may be able to identify triggers for other inflammatory diseases that afflict the central nervous system.

We also hope to find correlations between genetic variations (in DNA and RNA, the genetic building blocks of human life) and measured clinical features (including information obtained from MRI scans and visual assessments). We hope to identify correlations between biological data gathered from blood, spinal fluid and microbiome samples with MS risk, the disease course (severe or mild), and the response to therapies (e.g. efficacy, tolerability and/or safety).

For more information, please visit our study website, or call us at (415)502-7197.