Neuromyelitis Optica

Mayo Clinic is recognized as a center of excellence for neuromyelitis optica diagnosis, treatment and research. Our experts in the Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Autoimmune Neurology are committed to discovering the cause of neuromyelitis optica and developing new and better treatment strategies for patients. Advances in research and technology provide patients with optimism about the future.

Recent research progress on neuromyelitis optica includes:

  • Establishing neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders as a way to classify and unify a variety of related disorders to help focus research and treatment approaches. Experts can now identify the best treatment therapies for individual patients more effectively and efficiently.
  • Detecting the first antibody biomarker for neuromyelitis optica and developing a diagnostic test to distinguish the disease from multiple sclerosis. This discovery, using samples from our center's biorepository, enables scientists to positively diagnose neuromyelitis optica and initiate appropriate treatments.
  • Launching phase III of a worldwide clinical trial testing eculizumab, a drug typically used to treat blood disorders that has been shown in previous studies to successfully halt and prolong the time between neuromyelitis optica attacks. If successful, the trial could result in application to have eculizumab approved for neuromyelitis optica treatment.
  • Discovering novel mechanisms of injury and cellular stress induced by the neuromyelitis optica antibody and identifying molecular pathways that are targetable by current drugs.
  • Developing new tools for screening the molecular and cellular effects of the pathogenic antibodies present in patients with neuromyelitis optica and establishing methods for predicting disease progression based on laboratory models.