I am committed as a researcher to studying multiple neuro-immunologic diseases in children, with goals of diagnosing them promptly and treating them effectively.
My early work demonstrated increased relapse rates in pediatric versus adult onset patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). This paper has been widely referenced in subsequent publications and has informed our understanding of the highly active, inflammatory nature of the condition when it occurs in the pediatric age group. Data from my research was used to estimate the necessary sample sizes for clinical trials in pediatric MS.
The diseases I study are rare, and as such require considerable collaboration to build up a research base. At Boston Children's, we are a participating and high-enrolling site in the Network of Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Centers, which conducts multi-institutional research to obtain data about pediatric multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system. The goals of the database are to describe the number and characteristics of patients with suspected pediatric early onset of demyelinating disease and provide a basis for hypothesis-driven research.
One of this group's major studies is investigating the cause of pediatric multiple sclerosis, looking at genetic and environmental contributions by comparing patients with pediatric onset multiple sclerosis to healthy controls. This study is now generating exciting data that has led to publications as well as numerous poster and oral presentations at the 2016 American Academy of Neurology meeting.
I am also part of a three-site research project on opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome (OMS). As the lead institution, we are examining clinical and neuropsychological outcomes of children with OMS. Additional planned projects include assessment of relapse rates, development of a consensus statement, and creation of a larger multicenter clinical research database.
I also collaborate with researchers to discover novel infectious and autoimmune causes of encephalitis, a condition which often goes without a specific diagnosis, as well as autoimmune aspects of epilepsy. And several of my publications in both MS as well as other conditions have examined the efficacy and safety of immunological treatments in the neuro-immune conditions in the pediatric age group.
As a leader in the study of these rare conditions, I believe my work is offering new hope for patients and families. My studies include:
Gorman MP, Healy BC, Polgar-Turcsanyi, M, Chitnis, T. Increased relapse rate in pediatric-onset compared to adult-onset multiple sclerosis. Arch Neurol 2009 Jan;66(1):54-9. Full text: http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/66/1/54
Yeh EA, Waubant E, Krupp LB, Ness J, Chitnis T, Kuntz N, Ramanathan M, Belman A, ChabasD, Gorman MP, RodriguPez M, Rinker JR 2nd, Weinstock-Guttman B; for the National Network of Pediatric MS Centers of Excellence. Multiple sclerosis therapies in pediatric patients with refractory multiple sclerosis. Arch Neurol 2011 Apr;68(4):437-444.
Gorman MP, Tillema JM, Ciliax AM, Guttmann CR, Chitnis T. Daclizumab use in patients with pediatric multiple sclerosis. Arch Neurol 2012 Jan; 69(1):78-81.
Chitnis T, Guttmann CR, Zaitsev A, Musallam A, Weinstock-Guttmann B, Yeh A, Rodriguez M, Ness J, Gorman M, Healy BC, Kuntz N, Chabas D, Strober JB, Waubant E, Krupp L, Pelletier D, Erickson B, Bergsland N, Zivadinov R. Quantitative MRI analysis in children with multiple sclerosis: a multicenter feasibility pilot study. BMC Neurol 2013 Nov 13;13(1):173. PMCID: PMC3832402.
Benson LA, Healy BC, Gorman MP, Baruch NF, Gholipour T, Musallam A, Chitnis T. Elevated relapse rates in pediatric compared to adult MS persist for at least 6 years. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. 2014;3(2):186-93.
Graves J, Grandhe S, Weinfurtner K, Krupp L, Nelman A, Chitnis T, Ness J, Weinstock-Guttman B, Gorman M, Patterson M, Rodriguez M, Lotze T, Aaen G, Mowry EM, Rose JW, Simmons T, Casper TC, James J, Waubant E; US Network of Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Centers. Protective environmental factors for neuromyelitis optica. Neurology. 2014 Nov 18;83(21):1923-9. PMCID: 4248458
Casper TC, Rose JW, Roalstad S, Waubant E, Aaen G, Belman A, Chitnis T, Gorman M, Krupp L, Lotze TE, Ness J, Patterson M, Rodriguez M, Weinstock-Guttman B, Browning B, Graves J, Tillema JM, Benson L, Harris Y, the U. S. Network of Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Centers. The US Network of Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Centers: Development, Progress, and Next Steps. J Child Neurol. 2014 Sep 30 [Epub ahead of print]. PMCID: 4379142.