DREAMS (MS and autoimmune diseases)
DREAMS is a multidisciplinary group basic and clinical researchers from throughout Duke, as well as other leading academic centers throughout the nation. DREAMS is dedicated to improving our understanding of, and patient care for, multiple sclerosis (MS) and autoimmune diseases. Your gift to DREAMS will fund cutting-edge research that will improve our ability to detect, understand, and treat MS.
- Understand the genetic roots of MS - In 2007, Simon Gregory, PhD, and colleagues identified the first genetic associations with MS in 20 years. More recently, he contributed to a study that identified two additional genes associated with MS. Further research in this area may identify how MS begins at the cellular level or identify potential targets for future therapy.
- Find the molecular signatures of MS - Working with Case Western University’s Farren Briggs, PhD, Duke researchers have identified genes, DNA variants, and metabolites that correspond with MS. This research could help us identify MS more quickly and to better understand the development of the disease.
- Develop new drugs to control MS and rebuild damaged neurons - Eric Benner, MD, PhD, and Simon Gregory, PhD are exploring the use of oxysterols--molecules that naturally occur within the body--to regulate MS-induced inflammation and encourage re-myelination of damaged neurons
- Find a mouse model of MS - DREAMS researchers have already found genetic defect in the IL7R gene worsens a mouse model of MS. Now, researchers are building on this knowledge to understand how these changes happen at the molecular level.
- Improve patients’ quality of life - More than 200 MS patients completed a detailed, 25-instrument survey about MS and their daily life. These results will be paired with matched controls to reveal how MS progresses along lines of age gender, race, and other areas.
- Understand how MS progresses - DREAMS researchers are examining how the thymus, a crucial part of the immune system, degrades as MS progresses. Examining what happens in the thymus could help us identify mechanisms or novel targets that influence immune cell function during disease development.
- Find markers of MS development and progression - Our researchers have identified a highly sensitive test which may allow us to measure progression of MS from a blood sample. Further research in this field may allow us to better understand and predict the progression of MS.
Be part of DREAMS
Your part in DREAMS doesn’t end with your gift. Donors to DREAMS get regular updates on the current projects within DREAMS, straight from the researchers themselves. Giving to DREAMS allows you to learn more about cutting-edge MS research and to be a part of the conversation about creating a world without MS.