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SLCMSR Sylvia Lawry Centre for Multiple Sclerosis ResearchSylvia Lawry Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research

SLCMSR foundation
Sylvia Lawry


Worldwide, 2.5 million people live with the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

We want to help make better and safer therapy options available more quickly to patients. The SLCMSR pursues an approach which is unique in medical research worldwide: the institute is bundling and networking innovative statistical methods, the latest information technology and leading expert medical knowledge from the field of MS. The goals of this international project are to accelerate the process of research on the causes of MS and to develop new and more effective medication and therapies. The basis for these efforts is the world's most powerful MS database.

Current News
Launch of the Children MS Website
The Children MS Website has been launched. This work was supported by the "Kompetenznetz Multiple Sklerose" (Competence Network for Multiple Sclerosis) funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), (FKZ 01Gl0904)
about Computational Medicine at the Technical University Munich
The lectures "Clinical Applications of Computational Medicine - From basic science to the market" have started at the TUM (new place/date: every Thursday in Garching between 4:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m., Room 02.04.011). See also the electronic version of the TUM catalogue
The Osteoporotic Virtual Physiological Human
We are happy to inform you that we are part of the EU-Project VPHOP within the 7th Framework Programe. The fight against Osteoporosis now has a new ally. From now until August 2012 the VPHOP research project (#223865) will develop, validate and deploy the next generation of technology to predict the absolute risk of fracture in patients with low bone mass, thereby enabling clinicians to provide better prognoses and implement more effective treatment strategies (both pharmacological and interventional). More information about VPHOP
MRI as an outcome in MS clinical trials
"MRI as an outcome in MS clinical trials" by Daumer M., Neuhaus A., Morrissey S., Hintzen R., and Ebers G has been published at Neurology. Conclusion: MRI measures widely used in trials of relapsing-remitting and progressive multiple sclerosis add little if anything independently to the clinically relevant relapse and disability outcomes. These results reemphasize the importance of validating potential surrogate markers against clinical measures and highlight the need for better MRI markers of disease activity and progression.
Microarray-based classification and clinical predictors
"Microarray-based classification and clinical predictors: On combined classifiers and additional predictive value" by Boulesteix A.-L., Porzelius C., and Daumer M. has been published by Bioinformatics. Motivation: In the context of clinical bioinformatics methods are needed for assessing the additional predictive value of microarray data compared to simple clinical parameters alone. Such methods should also provide an optimal prediction rule making use of all potentialities of both types of data: they should ideally be able to catch subtypes which are not identified by clinical parameters alone. Moreover, they should address the question of the additional predictive value of microarray data in a fair framework.
"EBDIMS" has been positively reviewed and is now funded
The project "Evidence Based Decision Support in Multiple Sclerosis (EBDIMS)" has been positively reviewed and is now funded by the charitable Hertie-Foundation, the Porticus foundation and others over the next two years. The objective is to develop a web-based analysis tool, that enables an intuitive comparison of observational studies based on individual patient data. Currently the investigators of cohorts in London Ontario, British Columbia, EDMUS Rennes, Gothenburg, Dublin, Pittsburgh and Danish MS Registry are providing access to the individual databases. We invite all institutions, investigators and neurologists to participate in this program by providing data and ideas, as well as ideas for additional funding.
Disability as an outcome in clinical trials
"Disability as an outcome in clinical trials" by Ebers G., Heigenhauser L., Daumer M., Lederer C. and Noseworthy J. has been published at Neurology. Background: Inferences about long-term effects of therapies in multiple sclerosis (MS) have been based on surrogate markers studied in short-term trials. Preventing progressive disability is the key therapeutic goal but there remains no validated definition for its measurement in a trial context. Meanwhile, MS trials continue to shorten and to depend on unvalidated surrogates. Since there have been no treatment claims for improving unremitting disability, worsening of disability in the placebo/control arm must occur for effectiveness on this outcome to be shown. Conclusion: Clinical surrogates of unremitting disability used in trials of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis cannot be validated. Trials have been too short or degrees of disability change too small to measure the key outcomes. These analyses highlight the difficulty in determining effectiveness of therapy in chronic diseases.
Reducing the probability of false positive research findings...
"Reducing the probability of false positive research findings by pre-publication validation - experience with a large multiple sclerosis database" by Daumer M, Held U, Ickstadt K, Heinz M, Schach S and Ebers G has been published in BMC Medical Research Methodology 8:18, 2008. In this manuscript, which emerged from an internal paper our aim was to develop and implement a policy that reduces the probability of publishing false positive research findings. Published false positive research findings are a major problem in the process of scientific discovery. There is a high rate of lack of replication of results in clinical research in general, multiple sclerosis research being no exception. We are pleased to see that other groups start to work with similar policies and are interested to see the effect on the rate of false-positive research findings.
Review article: Evaluating microarray-based classifiers...
"Evaluating microarray-based classifiers: an overview." by Boulesteix A.-L., Strobl C., Augustin T. and Daumer M. has been published at Cancer Informatics 4: 77-97, 2008. In this publication Microarray-based classification is reviewed with a special focus on evaluation and validation Issues. Microarray studies may be useful in MS research e.g. to identify genes that are differentially expressed depending on the disease course or to refine the prediction of patient outcome. The 'GeneSelector' Bioconductor package is a contribution to the first task. Based on resampling techniques and a large number of statistical criteria, it helps selecting those genes that are consistently differentially expressed. The Bioconductor package CMA implements modern machine learning and statistical tools for reliable and unbiased class prediction based on high-dimensional genomic data.
Online Tool Individual Risk Profile (IRP) freely accessible
"Prognosis of the individual course of disease - steps in developing a decision support tool for Multiple Sclerosis" by M. Daumer, A. Neuhaus, C. Lederer, M. Scholz, J. S. Wolinsky and M. Heiderhoff has been published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2007, 7:11. Almost since the beginning of SLCMSR's life we have been thinking about an online tool which can help the doctor in his decision for further treatment of his/her patient suffering from multiple sclerosis. Very early SLC and its IT partner Trium were able to develop such a tool but - in most cases - controversial discussions kept us from publishing and thus making public the OLAP tool. In order that everyone has the possibility to read the paper and use the tool we have submitted the manuscript to a peer-reviewed open access journal. According to the journal's policy the source code of the tool is available under open public license, the tool itself is freely available for non-commercial purposes, the disclaimers are equivalent to similar tools from Harvard School of Public Health and compatibility with German Law and regulations has been confirmed. From the time of publishing this paper the SLC will name its core resource "The Ian McDonald MS database"
Launch of the Actibelt Webseite
A separate Website has been launched for the actibelt® project.
The EMEA has released new "guidelines on clinical investigation of medicinal products for the treatment for Multiple Sclerosis"
The SLCMSR and others have been consulted by the EMEA in order to receive comments and views from Learned Societies and other Interested Parties in the field. The comments provided by the SLCMSR have been taken into account for the finalisation of the guideline
Sylvia Lawry Centre listed by FDA as example of a very successful collaboration in the development of therapies to treat multiples sclerosis among NIH, EU, C-Path Institute
The Critical Path Initiative is FDA's effort to stimulate and facilitate a national effort to modernize the scientific process through which a potential human drug, biological product, or medical device is transformed from a discovery or "proof of concept" into a medical product.

Sylvia Lawry