New project investigates impact of thymectomy as treatment for MuSK myasthenia gravis

The American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) is honoring Katherine Clifford, BA, with the 2018 Golseth Young Investigator Award for her abstract, Thymectomy is Not Associated With Clinical Improvement in a Multi-Center Cohort of Patients with Anti-MuSK Myasthenia Gravis.

"My project investigates the impact of thymectomy as a treatment in anti-muscle-specific kinase (MuSK) myasthenia gravis (MG). I analyzed data from a pre-existing dataset from a multi-center cohort of patients with anti-MuSK myasthenia gravis in order to evaluate clinical outcomes in patients treated with thymectomy compared to those not treated with thymectomy. We did not find thymectomy to be associated with a greater likelihood of a favorable clinical outcome in anti-MuSK MG," explained Clifford.

"The recent MGTX trial clearly demonstrated the benefit of thymectomy for acetylcholine receptor antibody positive MG patients. Ms. Clifford and her colleagues now provide compelling data suggesting thymectomy may not be effective in MuSK positive MG. The Golseth Young Investigator award recognizes the clinical relevance of this important research and also celebrates Ms. Clifford as an extremely promising young investigator, whose career in neuromuscular medicine we will follow with great interest," noted A. Gordon Smith, MD, Co-Chair of the AANEM Annual Meeting Program Committee.

"This is a great retrospective study with a long enough follow up to be clinically relevant," said Robert W. Irwin, MD, Co-Chair of the AANEM Annual Meeting Program Committee. "The assessment of the data showed insight into the disease variables. This study was well written and answered the clinical question well. Additionally, it is relevant to all physicians treating myasthenia gravis."

Clifford says she hopes her research will have an impact on guiding clinical decision-making and therapeutic management for patients with this rare subtype of myasthenia gravis. She is looking forward to presenting her research at the 2018 AANEM Annual Meeting occurring October 10-13, 2018, in Washington, DC.

Clifford says it is an honor to have her research recognized by the AANEM.

"I could not be more thrilled to receive this prestigious award," she said. "I would like to thank my research mentor, Dr. Michael Hehir, for all of his guidance and support throughout the research process; his level of dedication in his mentorship was instrumental to my success. Winning this award is also a testament to our multi-center collaboration, and I would like to acknowledge all of our co-authors for making this project possible."

Clifford is a fourth year medical student at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine and will graduate in May 2019. She is applying into a neurology residency program and will be pursuing a clinical and research career in neurology.

The runner up for the Golseth Young Investigator Award is Long Davalos, MD, a neurology resident at the University of Cincinnati, for his abstract, Erythromelalgia and Sensory Neuropathy in Autoimmune Hepatitis: A Case Study.

The full list of 2018 AANEM Annual Meeting abstracts will be printed in the September 2018 issue of Muscle & Nerve and is now available via PDF. For more information on individual abstracts, contact Gretchen Williamson at [email protected]

AANEM requires information that goes beyond that which is contained within the abstract, e.g., discussion of the abstract done as part of a scientific presentation, is to be embargoed until the start of the 2018 AANEM Annual Meeting which is October 10, 2018. See the AANEM Abstract Embargo Policy for more information.

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