Our Research
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Our research

MS-LINK kick started with a handful of research projects and the promise to work together to forge a better tomorrow. These are our first studies, but certainly not our last. As we expand our network, we expect to deepen our research.

Our history

In 2018, EMD Serono brought the multiple sclerosis (MS) community together to launch a collaborative research network in order to help to create a sustainable transformation of MS care. Interdisciplinary stakeholders formed a top tier scientific research network with two arms representing precision science and real-world data/patient reported outcomes. Recognizing that leadership is only as good as its counsel, MS-LINK founded a steering committee to act in an advisory capacity.


The real-world evidence and patient-reported outcomes network (RPN) is led within EMD Serono by Terrie Livingston, PharmD, Head, Patient & Payer Solutions. Terrie will collaborate with leaders in MS science to generate and analyze large-scale, longitudinal data, and tackle clinical questions directly impacting MS patients' daily lives. All with the ultimate aim to help physicians, caregivers, and other stakeholders bring patient-centered solutions to the forefront of care.



The scientific and precision medicine network (SPMN) is led within EMD Serono by Stefan Lanker, PhD, Senior Medical Director, Patient & Payer Solutions. Stefan will work with top-tier scientists to conduct innovative research that focuses on patient needs by delving into questions that consider individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle.

current program

Current program

As new partners and collaborators join MS-LINK™, our efforts will evolve. Our goal is to continue to expand and deepen the MS-LINK research program.



NMSS Pilot Grant

Cellular senescence in autoimmune demyelination

•  Tracking senescent cells in the brain and correlation with demyelination and neurodegeneration
•  Effect of ablation of senescent cells on progression of EAE, demyelination and neurodegeneration

Partner: Oksenberg, UCSF

Status: Ongoing


NMSS Pilot Grant

Determining the effect of circadian rhythms in oligodendrocyte lineage cell dynamics with age in multiple sclerosis

•  Effect of circadian clock on oligodendrocyte proliferation, maturation and myelination during development and aging

Partner: Gibson, Stanford Univ.

Status: Ongoing


NMSS Pilot Grant

Association of Senescent Cells with MS progression

•  Determine “biological age” as opposed to chronological age by measuring physiological as well as blood factors in patients with MS
•  Using mathematical modeling, calculate participants’ biological age and compare this to the severity of their MS

Partner: Graves, UCSD

Status: Ongoing


MRF Pilot Grant

Utilizing circulating neuronally-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) to identify markers of neurodegeneration and repair in MS

Partner: Bhargava, Johns Hopkins Univ.

Status: Ongoing


MRF Pilot Grant

Evolution of CNS endothelial extracellular vesicle (EV) Populations During MS Treatment, and Definition of Circulating EV in MS Patients with Chronic Active Lesions (smoldering lesions)

Partner: Linden, Weill Cornell

Status: Ongoing


MRF Pilot Grant

Correlations of of astrocyte extracellular vesicle (EV)  miRNA content with disease progression, TSPO burden, and remyelination in MS patients

Partner: Pitt, Yale Univ.

Status: Ongoing


CMSC Pilot Grant

Examining Patterns and Correlates of Wellness in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) who use Wheelchairs

•  Evaluate diet, physical activity, and stress management in patients using wheelchairs, and how those behaviors affect their overall health and quality of life

Partner: Silveira, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Status: Ongoing


CMSC Pilot Grant

Immunological and MRI Correlates of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction in MS

•  Investigate the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a stress-relief technique that combines mindfulness meditation and education, in a group of people with MS

Partner: Hemond, UMass Medical School

Status: Ongoing


CMSC Pilot Grant

MRI in Pediatric MOG Syndrome

•  Investigate the use of new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to help physicians distinguish children with MS from those with demyelinating disorders that can mimic MS symptoms but are distinct ills, such as MOG-associated disease

Partner: Waubant, UCSF

Status: Ongoing


CMSC Pilot Grant

Understanding Psychiatric Comorbidity in Multiple Sclerosis Using Genomics

•  Better understand mental disorders by looking for genetic factors — via DNA analysis — that might be considered a “genetic risk score”

Partner: Kowalec, the College of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba

Status: Ongoing


Antigenome Signatures

Identify autoantigen signatures that distinguish patients who will progress to McDonald and clinically-definite multiple sclerosis (MS) over 2 years

Partner: Tedder, Duke Univ. + Bennett, Univ. of Colorado

Status: Ongoing


Immunome Pilot

Investigate T cell, B cell and innate immune cell phenotypic and functional responses in patients with MS in relation to age and compare such changes with Immunosenescence in healthy controls

Partner: Bar-Or, Univ. of Pennsylvania

Status: Complete


Harmonized Data Resource of MS brains

Assemble frozen brain and spinal cord samples from five major multiple sclerosis brain banks to generate one shared dimension of “omic” data across all samples, creating an integrated dataset that maximizes the sample size available from current MS samples across the major brain banks

Partner: De Jager, Columbia Univ.

Status: Planning


Discontinuation of Disease Modifying Therapies (DMTs) in MS (DISCOMS) Extension

Compare clinically significant and patient-relevant outcomes in those who discontinue versus continue DMTs to determine if (a) risk of new relapses or brain MRI lesions is no worse in those discontinuing (b) risk of disability progression (EDSS) is no worse in those discontinuing, and (c) quality of life and other patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are no worse in those discontinuing

Partner: Cutter, University of Alabama
Corboy, University of Colorado

Status: Planning


MS-SUPPORT Randomized Controlled Study

Assess if use of a novel shared decision-making tool known as MS-SUPPORT affects time to start/switch of disease modifying treatments and physician-patient communication in adults living with multiple sclerosis (MS)

Partner: Col, Shared Decision Making Resources

Status: Ongoing


Outcomes Study

Collect structured data (e.g., patient characteristics, clinical and patient reported outcomes, healthcare resource utilization) over 3-5 years, n = 5,000-10,000 patients at 8-10 centers to form novel bioresource for research, while identifying core set of patient reported outcomes that correlates with disability progression and/or disease activity

Partner: Tornatore, MedStar Georgetown; English, MS Center of Atlanta

Status: Ongoing


Next Gen MS

Evaluate how incorporation and utilization of patient reported outcomes (PROs) in a feed forward fashion affects disability progression and Quality of Life (QoL) (n=2000 pts)

Partner: Oliver, Dartmouth

Status: Ongoing



Truven Database Analysis: Treatment and adherence

Evaluate disease progression and health resource utilization (HRU) in people with MS (PwMS) treated with a disease modifying treatment (DMT): adherent users versus non-adherent users over 6 years

Partner: Amezcua, USC, Williams, Joi Wellness

Status: Ongoing


Truven Database Analysis: Aging in MS

Treatment and care management, clinical outcomes and mobility impairment in people with or without MS aged ≥ 50 years: observational 6-year analysis

Partner: Freeman and Lucas, UTSW Austin

Status: Ongoing