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The reputation of the UBC Hospital MS Clinic is owed in large part to its founder, Dr. Donald Winston Paty (1930-2004), who was a distinguished MS neurologist and researcher.
Dr. Paty was recruited to the UBC Hospital MS Clinic and UBC Faculty of Medicine in 1980, largely due to the creation of a new MRI facility. As Dr. Paty was a pioneer in the field, he envisioned a clinic that would meld research and care, and be a multidisciplinary resource and a one-stop shop for both patients and researchers.
The MRI advances initiated by Dr. Paty and carried on by his colleagues, including Drs. David Li and Anthony Traboulsee, have resulted in important milestones in the understanding and management of the disease. The team was instrumental in defining MRI criteria for MS and in incorporating MRI into the assessment of results of clinical trials. They also initiated the use of MRI as an outcome measure for disease modifying therapies.
The UBC Hospital MS Clinic has also been innovative in many other areas of disease management and research. In 1980, genetics was largely dominated by the pediatric community and focused on monogenic diseases. Dr. Dessa Sadovnick, incorporated genetics by taking and documenting family history on every consecutive patient seen since the inauguration of the Clinic in 1980. This laid the groundwork for the longitudinal, population-based Canadian Collaborative Study on Genetic Susceptibility to MS. The results have provided critical information on MS risk factors including gender, transmission patterns and gene-environment interactions.