The Health Research Innovation Team in Multiple Sclerosis (HITMS).


Study Title: The Health Research Innovation Team in Multiple Sclerosis (HITMS)
Rationale: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is typically first diagnosed between the ages of 16 and 40. Although some drug treatments are available to control relapses, the disease is still the most disabling neurological disorder among young adults in Canada. An estimated 100,000 Canadians are living with MS and is often first diagnosed between the ages of 16 and 40. Atlantic Canada has the highest incidence in Canada and there are about 1000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador with MS. MS is characterized by unpredictability in terms of timing, severity and profile of relapses. Conversion to a more progressive form of the disease has not been fully characterized and is not understood. Most MS clinics in Canada routinely collect medical information annually, which is used in research to understand the epidemiology of the disease. We intend to utilize new sophisticated methods to monitor disease progression of MS patients, in order to better understand and help develop better interventions for MS.
Study Description: The Health Research Innovation Team in Multiple Sclerosis (HITMS) is a unique partnership between researchers and clinicians in Newfoundland and Labrador. The goal of the HITMS project is to collect data on disease symptoms, neuro-immune and blood profiles, and physical and cognitive performance among people living with MS in the province. This information will be stored in a collaborative database, enabling HITMS researchers and clinicians to obtain snapshots of the overall health of our current MS population at any given time. By participating in this registry, MS patients will be making a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge into the possible causes of MS, methods by which MS is diagnosed, how MS disease activity behaves overtime and best treatment options available.

The HITMS provincial portfolio consists of data collection in the following three major subsections:
1. Clinical Profile - Performed at the Eastern Health MS clinic by Dr. Mark Stefanelli and Dr. Fraser Clift. Patients may consent to participate in the study during routine neurologist appointments until 2025. The patient’s medical history and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score will be recorded and entered into the HITMS database.

2. Neuro-immune Profile – Immediately following the clinical visit, a research nurse will provide questionnaires for the patient to complete about their wellbeing and collect a blood sample to be analysed in the neuro-immune laboratory of Dr. Craig Moore. Experiments will be conducted on the blood sample to provide insight into how MS is affecting brain cells and also allow the identification of MS biomarkers for enhancing MS diagnosis.

3. Physical/Cognitive Profile – Performed during an additional visit to the Recovery and Performance laboratory at the L.A. Miller Centre by Dr. Michelle Ploughman and her team. Sophisticated technology will assess physical health while pen and paper tests will determine the effect that MS has on cognitive abilities.

People with MS who choose to participate, may consent to one, two or all of the three subsections. The data within the HITMS portfolio will be de-identified for research purposes.
Starting Dates: 2020-09-16
Ending Dates: 2025
Who can participate: Participants are those in Newfoundland and Labrador with clinically-diagnosed Multiple Sclerosis (any type).
Location of Trial: Memorial University of Newfoundland
Contact Information: Dr. Craig Moore, Neva Fudge MSc , Dr. Mark Stefanelli , Dr. Michelle Ploughman , Dr. Fraser Clift
Trial Funding: CIHR, Canadian Research Chair, MS Society of Canada