Prof. Dr. Friedemann Paul │ Clinical Neuroimmunology Group

The Clinical Neuroimmunology Group is one of four working groups at the NeuroCure Clinical Research Center (NCRC). Our focus is upon the improvement of the therapeutic and diagnostic possibilities for neuroimmunological diseases, especially for multiple sclerosis. We are working on this with a translational approach; this means that we try to transfer new developments and findings from basic research directly into clinical work.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most frequent chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and primarily affects young adults. It is causally based upon autoimmune processes; this means that the body's own immune system mistakes the nervous system as "foreign" and initiates an inflammation reaction, as a result of which nerve cells and axons, with their sheathing protective coating, are damaged. Many different neurological symptoms can occur. People suffering from MS can for example feel tingling sensations or numbness, receive paralyses or balance disorders, stumble more frequently or develop problems with their sight.

The course taken by MS varies greatly between individuals, and its course cannot be predicted well in individual patients. One of our fields of activity is the development and establishing of new progress and prognosis markers. These include, for example, the improvement of possibilities in the field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), e.g. ultra-high-field MRI and also the establishing of new imaging procedures such as optical coherence tomography (OCT).

It is not yet possible to cure MS. Progression and symptoms can, however, be positively influenced by various drug therapies and non-drug measures. Another fields of activity is the development and conducting of clinical studies with the aim of improving the therapeutic possibilities of MS. These include on the one hand clinical studies of phases I to IV, which we partly carry out in cooperation with the industry, and on the other hand new non-drug treatment approaches such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of depressiveness and fatigue and visual restitution therapy for the improvement of persisting sight impairments after inflammation of the optic nerve.

Other diseases on which we have a research focus are Susac syndrome and neuromyelitis optica.

The Clinical Neuroimmunology group works in close cooperation with the interdisciplinary outpatient clinics of the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC). In addition to the Neuroimmunology outpatient clinic, other additional disciplines ensure state-of-the-art patient care based on the current state of knowledge.