BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Jacobs Neurological Institute of the
University at Buffalo has received a $1.8 million, five-year grant
from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to establish at Women
& Children's Hospital of Buffalo one of six Pediatric Multiple
Sclerosis (MS) Centers of Excellence that it is creating in the
MS commonly is perceived as an "adult disease" that affects
young to middle-aged adults. However, diagnostic tools now reveal
that 8,000-10,000 children in the U.S. have MS, which accounts for
approximately five percent of those diagnosed with the disease. As
many as 10,000-15,000 children may have MS symptoms.
Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, M.D., director of the Baird MS Center
of The Jacobs Neurological Institute and associate professor of
neurology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences,
will be the director of the new Pediatric MS Center of the Jacobs
"This grant builds on the legacy of Dr. Lawrence
Jacobs, the UB researcher and clinician who was
a pioneer in developing effective treatments that
have made dramatic improvements in the lives of adults
with MS. Now UB will be able to do the same for children
affected by this disease," said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., UB vice
president for health sciences.
"Currently, childhood and adolescent MS is thought to be
relatively uncommon, accounting for five percent of all cases.
However, there is concern on the part of UB researchers and others
that it may be more prevalent than previously recognized.
This new effort is one of many areas in which UB
investigators seek to expand our medical knowledge base and find
ways to better diagnose and treat even the most difficult
conditions," Dunn added.
Western New York has one of highest rates of adult MS in the
U.S., with approximately 160 diagnosed cases per 100,000
population, according to the Western New York/Northwestern
Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The national rate of diagnosed MS cases is approximately 50 per
"We are very excited to collaborate with the Pediatric MS Center
of the Jacobs Neurological Institute and to work together to help
children and their families living with MS in our community and
throughout the region," said Art Cardella, president of the
The center will treat children under 18 years of age who have MS
and other central nervous system acquired demyelinating diseases.
It will have three primary areas of interest: caring for children
with demyelinating diseases; educating primary-care physicians and
families throughout Western New York about symptoms and treatment
options for pediatric MS, and advancing clinical and basic science
research on pediatric MS and related demyelinating diseases.
"Many general pediatricians are not familiar with MS,
particularly since they are not expecting to see it in children,"
said Weinstock-Guttman. "The Pediatric MS Center will provide
comprehensive care and a wide range of services, including
in-patient and out-patient neurological care, physical therapy and
rehabilitation and family education in the child-friendly
environment of Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo.
"Locating the Pediatric MS Center of the Jacobs Neurological
Institute at Women & Children's Hospital aligns perfectly with
our existing strength in pediatric neurosciences," said Cheryl
Klass, president of Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo.
"The pediatric neurosurgeons and neurologists are strong
components of our nationally recognized and comprehensive range of
pediatric and surgical specialists who diagnose and care for
children with MS and all other health conditions," Klass added.
The other Regional Pediatric MS Centers of Excellence are:
Center for Pediatric-Onset Demyelinating Disease at the Children's
Hospital of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham; National
Pediatric MS Center at Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony
Brook, N.Y.; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota; - Massachusetts
General Hospital for Children (Boston) Partners Pediatric MS
Center, and University of California, San Francisco Regional
Pediatric MS Center.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State
University of New York.
Jacobs Neurological Institute is a comprehensive neurological
care center that is proud to be a leader in the establishment of
the nation's first network of Pediatric MS Centers of
Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo, a Kaleida Health
facility, is the regional center for comprehensive and
state-of-the-art pediatric, perinatal and obstetrical services in
Western New York and beyond.