Andrew McKeon, M.B., B.Ch., M.D., is a neurology specialist at Mayo Clinic whose research interests pertain to autoimmune neurological diseases of the central nervous system, including autoimmune encephalitis, autoimmune movement disorders and stiff person syndrome.
Dr. McKeon's research goals are to discover new antibody biomarkers of those diseases, to validate the biomarkers for clinical use, to understand the pathophysiological significance of those biomarkers and to develop therapeutics. His work intersects with that of the Division of Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology through the Neuroimmunology Laboratory, where he conducts research and validates newly discovered antibodies as tests. Dr. McKeon also works within the Division of Multiple Sclerosis and Autoimmune Neurology in the Department of Neurology, where he provides clinical care, enrolls patients in research studies and conduct clinical trials.
- Identifying novel biomarkers in seronegative autoimmune encephalopathies. Serum and cerebrospinal fluid from patients with seronegative autoimmune encephalopathy are interrogated for neural IgG antibodies using native full-length protein microarrays, tissue- and cell-based immunofluorescence assays, phage immunoprecipitation sequencing, and mass spectrometry techniques for verification.
- Determining validity of novel biomarkers. Newly characterized IgGs are validated in patients with autoimmune encephalopathy and in control participants by multiple antigen-specific methods, including confocal indirect immunofluorescence and recombinant protein assays, such as Western blot and cDNA-transfected cells.
- Assessing for differentiated clinical and immunological phenotypes. Patients with autoimmune encephalopathies with characterized and validated neural IgGs are deep-phenotyped clinically and radiologically. In addition, they are characterized immunologically by evaluating for IgG effects in live neuron assays and cytokine-chemokine profiles.
- Designing and participating in clinical trials of immune therapies. Dr. McKeon develops investigator-initiated treatment protocols using novel immune therapies and advises on phase 3 trial design for autoimmune CNS disorders. He serves as a site principal investigator or co-investigator.
Significance to patient care
Dr. McKeon's research is translational, aiming to discover new antibody biomarkers of autoimmune neurological diseases and to validate and implement these as diagnostic tests. In addition, patients with novel characterized autoimmune diseases are candidates for immune therapy, either in the clinical care context or in the setting of clinical trials.