The Superficial Siderosis Research Alliance is pleased to announce Michael Levy MD, Ph.D. as the SSRA Board Chief Medical Advisor.
Dr. Levy is a neurologist with 10 years of clinical and research expertise in rare neuroimmunological disorders. This Houston, Texas native earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine. He then completed his residency in the Johns Hopkins neurology program in 2005, a fellowship in neuroimmunology in 2008, was a member of the faculty at Johns Hopkins University since 2009 and was the Director of the Johns Hopkins Neuromyelitis Optica Clinic.
He first became aware of superficial siderosis during his residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital when a 48-year-old patient presented with unexplained symptoms and a two-year history of worsening gait, clumsiness, leg cramping, memory impairment, and dysarthria. The patient’s medical history revealed a two-week hospital admission at the age of three after being involved in an auto accident that resulted in head trauma and a coma.
In a case study accepted September 2006 by PubMed, peer-reviewed in February 2007, and updated in May 2012 American Journal of Neuroradiology, Dr. Levy and Dr. Llinas demonstrated the efficacy of deferiprone (Ferriprox), a lipid-soluble iron chelator, for reducing hemosiderin deposition through MR imaging of a single patient on deferiprone for 18 months.
Based on the findings of this single case report, Dr. Levy and Dr. Llinas were able to conduct a pilot trial of ten patients with superficial siderosis by using 30 mg/kg/day of deferiprone and found that four patients showed MR imaging changes in as little as 3 months. Results of this pilot trial demonstrated Ferriprox (deferiprone) is the only chelation treatment to show any efficacy, and its use emerged as the standard of care for the treatment of superficial siderosis.
Dr. Levy moved to Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in 2019 to continue his research work in superficial siderosis. Current projects are focused on expediting the iron chelation process, improving MRI outcomes measures and characterizing the pathological changes that occur in brain areas exposed to hemosiderin.
Dr. Levy has more than 95 peer-reviewed research articles, reviews, and editorials, and 3 patents covering NMO tolerization therapy, TM diagnostics and stem cell regeneration approaches. Dr. Levy is currently the chief editor at Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders and sits on the editorial board for Journal of Neurological Diseases, and on scientific advisory boards for Alexion, MedImmune, Chugai, Shire, and Quest Diagnostics.