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Justin McKee


Clinical Research Fellow in Multiple Sclerosis

  • Consultant in Medical Ophthalmology, and DPhil Student

My research focuses on optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis, specifically in the clinical trial setting.

In my clinical training as a medical ophthalmologist, I was struck by the fact that patients who present with optic neuritis face the difficult task of comprehending that a problem with their vision may be the first sign of multiple sclerosis. This is compounded by the fact that doctors have no treatments that can influence the degree of recovery a patient will achieve with their vision following optic neuritis. This experience has inspired me to pursue research in optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis.

In the clinical trial setting, the unique anatomy and function of the eye amongst central nervous system structures, means that optic neuritis provides an ideal substrate with which to conduct clinical trials of potential neuroprotective agents. Robust biomarkers, such as retinal nerve fibre layer thickness and low contrast visual acuity, can provide reliable indications of neurodegeneration, and assessments of neuro-protective efficacy of investigational therapeutic agents. Information derived from such trials, can inform us of the efficacy of therapeutic agents not just in optic neuritis, but in multiple sclerosis as a whole.

Currently, under the supervision of Dr Matt Craner and Dr Jackie Palace, along with our co-investigators Professor Lars Fugger, Professor Chris Kennard, Mr John Elston and Dr Nikos Evangelou we are conducting the Amiloride Clinical Trial in Optic Neuritis (ACTION), with funding from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Laboratory studies by Professor Fugger’s group have shown the commonly used diuretic amiloride to be a potentially effective neuroprotective agent in multiple sclerosis, and in the ACTION trial we are seeking to translate this into clinical evidence for the efficacy of amiloride in optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis.

Recent publications

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