The new Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence opened Tuesday, built on a concept of combining bedside treatment with laboratory research.
The center is designed to treat thousands of patients in Oklahoma and the region who have symptoms that may include the inability to walk, blindness and paralysis. It is in the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation's new seven-floor research tower at 825 NE 13.
The MS center will be headed by Gabriel Pardo, M.D., a neurologist and neuro-
“We meet in the middle. I bring my ideas from the bedside; they bring ideas from the lab side to brainstorm together,” he said.
Patients will be seen in technologically advanced examination rooms.
They will be treated in a specially designed infusion suite, ophthalmological and dental areas, and a physical therapy area with equipment designed just for MS patients.
“This is history-making time in MS. This is when things are happening. We're understanding a lot of things and coming up with better strategies. What better than to be part of history making?” Pardo said.
Patients also will be able to participate in clinical trials and perhaps have a hand in helping future generations of MS sufferers, Pardo said.
“Multiple sclerosis doesn't just take a toll on the body, but it drastically impairs a patient's lifestyle,” said OMRF President Dr. Stephen Prescott.
The disease interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the body and brain.
“We're not only improving our research capabilities with the new center, but by gathering many of the facilities used by MS patients in one place, we hope to make treatment more convenient,” Prescott said.
Experts estimate at least 4,200 Oklahomans have multiple sclerosis.
“As we move toward finding a cure, Oklahomans will now have access to quality, integrated care from this dedicated team of MS specialists,” said Lucy Fraser, development director for the Oklahoma Chapter of the National MS Society.