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Winthrop’s Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Center

Bringing cutting edge research from laboratory to bedside and directing new frontiers of care

Our Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Center’s program has received recognition and accreditation from both the National and Long Island Multiple Sclerosis Societies

The mission of Winthrop’s Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Treatment Center is to provide patients with compassionate care and expertise in the rapidly expanding field of MS therapeutics, promote education about the disease and conduct research to develop increasingly effective and safe therapies that will diminish the impact of the condition on patients and families and enhance the quality of their lives.

Since 1997, Winthrop’s Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Center has grown and evolved, and today we manage more than 1,500 patient visits annually. At the forefront of clinical care, our MS Center’s treatment and research program has received recognition and accreditation from both the National and Long Island MS Societies. The Center’s team is actively involved in national, state and local organizations responsible for influencing the future of MS treatment.

What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

MS is a chronic inflammatory disease that destroys areas of the protective coating (myelin) that surrounds the nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. The cause is unknown. The process (demyelination) disrupts the normal flow of messages through the brain, spinal cord and nerves that control movement, sensation and other neurological functions.

Symptoms vary, reflecting the parts of the brain or spinal cord damaged by the disease. They may come and go or vary in severity from day-to-day and hour-to-hour. The most common early symptoms include: weakness, leg dragging, stiffness, a tendency to drop things, a feeling of heaviness, clumsiness or a lack of coordination. Visual symptoms are also common, including blurred, foggy or hazy vision, eyeball pain, blindness or double vision.

Multiple Sclerosis Evaluation & Diagnosis

Multiple sclerosis is evaluated by detailed physical and cognitive examinations; no diagnostic test (including MRI) can substitute for the clinical examination. However, several tests may help confirm the diagnosis, including:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) -- a scan of the brain and spinal cord
  • Lumbar puncture (sometimes called a spinal tap) and cerebrospinal fluid analysis
  • Evoked potential testing
  • Urinary tract tests
  • Neuropsychologic evaluation

A diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan are established when our experienced clinicians have determined our the patient’s history, physical examination and laboratory findings are consistent with MS, and other conditions (“MS mimics”) are ruled out.

Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Program

Although there is no cure for MS, medications can reduce the number and severity of attacks, and may slow the progression of the disease. Treatment can also improve quality of life. The level of treatment often depends on how severe symptoms are and how much the disease affects functioning. Treatment may focus on making a relapse shorter or less serious, altering the course of the disease and relieving symptoms.

The Center’s team provides the very best multiple sclerosis treatment while also helping our MS patients manage their physical and psychosocial symptoms. Specialized nursing care includes training patients and families to inject medications and helping patients manage the often-unpredictable and fluctuating symptoms. Additionally, our team’s relationships with specialists who treat the various symptoms and their ability to expedite referrals, greatly enhances our ability to improve patients’ quality of life.

Winthrop’s Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Center is one of only four registered infusion centers on Long Island to be certified for intravenous (IV) administration of natalizumab (Tysabri®), which has been approved by the FDA for return to market. Tysabri® is generally recommended for patients who have had inadequate response to, or are unable to tolerate, other approved MS therapies such as Copaxone®, Betaseron®, Avonex®, Rebif® and Novantrone®).

Bringing Cutting Edge Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Research from Laboratory to Bedside

Several major research trials are in progress, evaluating the effects of combinations of drugs administered in varying dosages. Through this clinical research conducted at Winthrop, the Center can offer patients new investigational therapies that would otherwise not be available to them.

With new findings highlighting the urgent need to introduce therapeutic agents as soon as MS has been diagnosed, Winthrop’s Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Center conducts extensive research that includes participation in several multi-center clinical drug trials and studying patient outcomes and risk factors for developing MS. In addition, original research is conducted, including a study of the safety and tolerability of a double dose of Betaseron®, the first FDA-approved medication that effectively reduced the exacerbation rate of MS by one-third.

Current Multiple Sclerosis Research

The CARES–MSII trial is a Phase III study comparing two annual cycles of intravenous low and high dose Alemtuzumab to three times weekly subcutaneous Interferon Beta –A. Alemtuzumab is a monoclonal antibody. People with Relapsing/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) who have relapsed on therapy are potential candidates for this trial. Winthrop-University Hospital is the only participating study site on Long Island.

The CombiRx trial is a NIH Phase lll evaluation of Avonex® and Copaxone® as monotherapies compared to the combination of both drugs.

The Interferon Dose Escalation and Assessment of Safety (IDEAS) extension trial was a study designed and conducted by Dr. Gottesman and Ms. Friedman-Urevich. Patients were monitored for the development of neutralizing antibodies to double dose of Betaseron®.

The original IDEAS trial, designed and conducted solely at Winthrop was a Phase ll study of the safety and tolerability of a double dose of Betaseron®. This was a pilot study to determine if a higher dose of medication is safe, and paved the way for the BEYOND Trial, a large multi-center trial.

For information about participation in a clinical trial at Winthrop’s MS Center, call the Hospital’s Clinical Trial Center at 516-663-9582

New York State Multiple Sclerosis Consortium (NYSMSC)

Under the rubric of the New York State Multiple Sclerosis Consortium (NYSMSC), Winthrop’s Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Center is one of 15 facilities collaborating in the study of patient outcomes and risk factors for developing MS. With over 9,000 patients enrolled in this registry, the NYSMSC has amassed one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive epidemiological databases for studying the demographic and clinical aspects of MS. This information has been published and presented at national and international meetings. 

Our Team of Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Experts

Malcolm Gottesman, MD
Director of Comprehensive MS Care Center, Chief of Neurology

Sharon Friedman-Urevich, RN, FNP
MS Treatment Program Coordinator

Lorraine Martone, RN, BSN

Denise Grueneberg

Sharon Friedman-Urevich, DNP, FNP-BC, RN

Lucia DiSpirito, LMSW
Neuroscience Social Worker

Paralleling the leadership example set by Dr. Gottesman, who serves on the Clinical Advisory Committee of the Long Island MS Society, Sharon Friedman-Urevich, RN, FNP, Coordinator of the Treatment Program, recently founded the Long Island MS Nursing Society, a professional organization whose members share information about clinical care for MS patients, and educate patients about treatment options. She also serves on the Clinical Advisory Committee of the Long Island MS Society.

Download the Winthrop MS Brochure

Support Groups

MS Support Group
Monthly on Wednesdays at:
1300 Franklin Avenue, Suite ML-5
Garden City, NY 11530
For reservations, please call 516-663-4593

Dystonia Support Group
Monthly on every 4th Monday at:
1300 Franklin Avenue, Suite ML-5
Garden City, NY 11530
For reservations, please call 516-663-4593

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