BOSTON (March 6, 2018)— Massachusetts General Hospital’s Neurology Department announces the launch of a new Neuroimmunology Division to meet the growing demand for clinical care and treatments of immunologic, inflammatory and infectious neurological disorders.

Mass General Neurology has a strong history of expertise in multiple sclerosis, neuro-infectious disease, and autoimmune neurology. Since 2015, requests for visits to treat these disorders among Mass General physicians specializing in this area has almost doubled, and continues to grow. At the same time, with advances in antibody mediated neurologic disease, broader understanding of multiple sclerosis and its new treatments, and growing list of immunotherapies, this subspecialty of neurology has grown in terms of trainees, clinical studies and basic science.

The new Neuroimmunology Division will include treatment for infectious neurology conditions including HIV-related, viral encephalitis, meningitis, neurocysticercosis, neurosyphilis, neuro-Lyme (restricted definition), infectious myelopathies; autoimmune conditions including Ab-mediated encephalitis, neurological complications of connective tissue disease, neurosarcoidosis, non-MS demyelinating diseases, idiopathic autoimmune CNS and PNS syndromes, paraneoplastic neurological disease, CNS vasculitis; and all forms of multiple sclerosis and Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) spectrum disorders. Evaluation and management of spinal cord disorders of unclear etiology, underserved at present, is another area of focus. The new division will also include a growing research investment, and provide a training program for clinical and research careers in the management of these diseases.

“We’re happy to be able to improve the efficiency and accuracy of diagnosis of immunologic, inflammatory and infectious neurologic disorders in both inpatient and outpatient settings,” said Dr. Nagagopal Venna, Chief of the new division. “Establishing an entire division dedicated to these disorders also allows us to assemble our expertise, resources, and training pipeline to offer better care, study these disorders in a more focused manner, and seek to discover new treatments, while also training a new generation of neurologists in this specialty.”

"We are increasingly finding key roles for neuroinflammation and infection in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, ALS, and Parkinson's, as well as autoimmune neurological disorders. Research in these areas is blossoming at Mass General and worldwide. So, a new division dedicated to these areas of investigation and clinical practice is very important and timely," said Rudy Tanzi, PhD, Vice-Chair of Neurology Research and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Mass General.

The new division will include a Multiple Sclerosis and Neuromyelitis Optica Unit directed by Dr. Eric Klawiter, with Dr. Farrah Mateen serving as associate director; a Neuro-Infectious Diseases Unit directed by Dr. Tracey Cho with Dr. Shibani Mukerji serving as Associate Director; an Autoimmune Neurology Unit directed by Dr. Tracey Cho with Dr. Jenny Linnoila serving as associate director; and an advanced general and autoimmune neurology fellowship led by Dr. Venna with Dr. Haatem Reda serving as associate director. A dedicated nurse for care and treatment safety monitoring is also part of the division.

About Mass General Neurology

Guided by the needs of our patients, our mission is to provide outstanding clinical care while rapidly discovering new treatments to reduce and eliminate the devastating impact of neurological disorders; train the very best neurologists and scientists of the future, and improve the health and well-being of the diverse communities we serve.

About Mass General Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The Mass General Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with an annual research budget of more than $800 million and major research centers in HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, genomic medicine, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, photomedicine and transplantation biology. Mass General topped the 2015 Nature Index list of health care organizations publishing in leading scientific journals and earned the prestigious 2015 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service. In August 2016, Mass General was once again named to the Honor Roll in the U.S. News & World Report list of "America’s Best Hospitals."