Clinical Studies

The John L. Trotter MS Center at Washington University is committed to offer research opportunities targeting some of the greatest unmet needs and unanswered questions:

  • What are the causes of MS?
  • Why do some get progressive MS?
  • When will we get better treatments to prevent progression and repair the nervous system?
  • How can we select the best treatment for an individual with MS?
  • How can we better treat the troubling symptoms of MS?
  • Can we prevent MS in someone at risk to develop it?
  • Can we cure MS in someone who already has it?

A critical partnership

We cannot answer these questions without your help. We are committed to make this disease more manageable until we have a cure. Your involvement brings us one step closer to the answers.

What to expect

We have a variety of studies, some of which take several minutes, others that can last up to several years. Some studies involve observation while others involve new treatments which may be medications or lifestyle modifications.

Most clinical studies provide reimbursement for your time and travel. Clinical trials that involve a treatment will typically provide the required medications, follow-up visits, labs and MRIs if part of the study. If you are currently seeing a neurologist/MS specialist outside our group, you can often continue to see that person while participating in a clinical trial.

Types of clinical research

Investigator-initiated clinical studies are ideas, questions, and protocols that are developed by physicians and scientists at the John L. Trotter MS Center. Some study protocol examples might include blood donation, questionnaires, clinical assessments, or MRIs. They can be as short as several minutes or may have a number of visits over months or years.

Industry-sponsored clinical trials are sponsored by the pharmaceutical manufacturer for regulatory/FDA approval of new therapies. Based upon whether the study is early or late, they are classified as Phase I, II, III and IV. You will be assigned a study coordinator, who is your contact person if you have any questions or problems.


All studies require your consent. The study coordinator and doctor will ensure you understand the risks, benefits, alternatives, visit schedule, visit procedures, financial reimbursements, and potential impact on your health insurance. You and your support people will get to ask questions. Your participation in a study is entirely optional.