Multiple Sclerosis Research Opportunities in Northern Nevada

By: Kristen Gurnea

March 31, 2023

Woman in a wheelchair in the sun

There are nearly 1 million adults living with MS in the United States alone. For comparison, that is roughly the entire population of the Reno/Sparks and Las Vegas areas combined.

MS is a neurological autoimmune condition which means that the immune system of patients with MS attacks the body’s myelin, a protective substance that covers your nerves. When this happens, the unprotected nerves can be damaged. Patients with MS may experience many different symptoms ranging from mild to severe, such as mobility and vision problems, fatigue and difficulty thinking. MS is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20-50, but late onset MS can occur in patients over 50 years old. While there is no cure for MS, there are effective treatments that can help reduce the burden of patients’ symptoms and create a positive quality of life.

At Renown Health, we have joined the fight against MS through a partnership between advanced neurology programs and providers and our research office.

We are proud to offer newly diagnosed MS patients the opportunity to choose between standard care treatment options or participating in an open label clinical trial, the AGNOS study. This study is assessing the impact of a new medication, ofatumumab, as the first disease modifying therapy participants receive for managing relapsing remitting MS, the most common form of MS.

“Prior to 1993 there were no medications to treat MS, but thanks to the collaborative efforts of basic scientists, clinical researchers and trial participants we now have around 20 agents in our arsenal. I am very appreciative of patients who participate in clinical research, and I look forward to continuing to work together to improve the lives of persons with MS” said Dr. Lee Gerwitz, Principal Investigator for the AGNOS trial at Renown Health.

After giving consent, participants will have a 28-day screening/qualification period. Qualified participants may then receive ofatumumab for 18 months with the option to continue receiving the medication for an additional 12-month period (a total of 30 months). Those who are healthy and want to join the fight against MS may also participate in the study; healthy controls will not receive a study treatment but will be followed for select health outcomes.

“As a Research Coordinator on the AGNOS study I have become more aware of the need to bring more healthcare options to people living with MS, and am incredibly grateful to be able to help introduce more opportunities for care to our rural community” said Mairani (Nani) Ramirez, Primary Coordinator of the AGNOS study at Renown Health.

Our team of expert neurologists and researchers are available to join our patients with MS in support of their healthcare journey. If you are interested in learning more about this clinical trial option at Renown Health, talk to your neurologist at your next appointment or contact us at 775-982-3646.

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