Our mission at the Myasthenia Gravis Center (MGC) is to provide comprehensive state-of-the-art care to patients with MG through the collaboration of neurologists, surgeons, scientists, rehabilitation medicine therapists, and specialized consultative services.
The MGC is among the few organizations that provide comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services, combined with a breadth of research, dedicated to myasthenia gravis. The MGC is part of the partnership consortium of George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences, The GW Medical Faculty Associates, and George Washington University Hospital. Together, the three institutions bring their unique strengths focused on the best care for patients with myasthenia gravis, whether it is in the inpatient or outpatient settings, or the research laboratory.
Every patient referred to the MGC is personally evaluated by the Director, Henry J. Kaminski, MD, at times with the benefit of skilled fellows and residents. After a thorough history, review of previous records, and examination, each patient will then have an investigation tailored to their needs to confirm the diagnosis or identify other conditions. These services include evaluation by the following:
- AANEM - Accredited Neurophysiology Laboratory, including single fiber EMG
- Edrophonium (Tensilon) testing
- Laboratory Antibody testing
- Computerized Tomography or Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the chest
- Neuro-ophthalmology consultation
- Polysomnography to identify sleep disorders
Patients with MG require individual tailoring of therapy to their needs. Therapy will often require high dose prednisone or one of several immunosuppressive therapies. In addition, Dr. Kaminski works closely with colleagues to provide care that many hospitals cannot. The full gamut of specialized treatment options are available to our patients:
- Surgery: Drs. Keith Mortman and Gregory Trachiotis in our Division of Thoracic Surgery are expert thoracic surgeons trained in advanced surgical approaches to the thymus, from trans-sternal methods to videoscopic and robotic surgery. Together, these two physicians have decades of experience in the treatment of tumors of the thymus (thymomas). For patients with cancer of the thymus, the MGC is supported by the GW Cancer Center.
- Rehabilitation Services: MG is a disabling disease and its treatments also have adverse effects. The MGC provides access to consultations and care by experts in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, which is an important part of the recovery process in the hospital and in the outpatient clinic.
- Apheresis Unit: For patients with severe MG exacerbations, the MGC works closely with the Therapeutic Apheresis Unit to provide plasma exchange. The Therapeutic Apheresis Unit has a track record of success with low complication rates. For the rare treatment-resistant patient, outpatient treatments can be performed.
- Integrative Medicine Evaluations: For patients interested in exploring “integrative or non-traditional” approaches to treatment, consultations are available through the GW Integrative Medicine Center. Please note that wait times may be long and services may not be covered by insurance.
- Research: The Laboratory for Myasthenia Gravis Therapeutic Development is dedicated to the development of better treatments with an ultimate goal of curing myasthenia gravis. The laboratory takes a broad approach to therapy development from focused studies in the laboratory on the links between autoimmune disease and cancer to the impact of cytokine treatment on disease severity. The Laboratory collaborates with scientists across the globe in academics and industry. Linda L. Kusner, PhD, directs the Laboratory.