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Neuroimmunology: what makes us different

The SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital and Hospital Clínic Neuroimmunology Unit is internationally recognised thanks to the prestige of both hospitals and its leading specialists in childhood and adolescent neurological diseases. We stand out for the following reasons:

We care for paediatric patients in a coordinated manner

Both centres attend joint meetings and discuss the child and adolescent cases that have been admitted to SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital. This enables us to benefit from the experience of the professionals and provide an accurate diagnosis of these diseases, which have some distinctive characteristics in early childhood. We work to comprehensively care for the patients and their families, who need information and support throughout the whole process.

We have an internationally recognised team

We receive samples from centres all over the world, in some cases from hospitals that are requesting a second opinion or confirmation of their diagnosis. The diseases we treat are highly complex and require sophisticated diagnosis and treatment methods. The work of the Visual Pathway and Advanced Imaging laboratory is vital in determining what disease each person suffers from and providing them with better therapeutic treatment.

Our laboratory, managed by Thaís Armangué, is exclusively dedicated to the study of this type of disease. The coordinator of the Unit, Josep Dalmau, is one of the leading specialist researchers in this type of disease and one of the most cited in scientific publications worldwide. In the last decade, we have discovered 12 previously unknown diseases.

We provide an accurate diagnosis

The diseases we treat are highly complex and require sophisticated diagnosis and treatment methods. Our unit works in constant coordination with specialists from the Neurology, Ophthalmology, Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology departments, among others.

The differential diagnosis of these diseases is difficult as the symptoms that could occur are similar to those of metabolic or genetic diseases that manifest themselves in early childhood. Collaboration with the metabolic disease, movement disorder and genetic-based rare disease units enables us to properly screen each case.

We personalise treatment, adapting it to our paediatric patients

For years, failure to detect neuroimmune diseases has led to some specialists prescribing inappropriate treatments. Our accumulated knowledge and experience enables us to choose the most effective therapeutic options with the aim of preventing complications or reducing the neurological damage in cases where this is a possibility.

The majority of cases are treated with immunotherapy (either using immunomodulators or immunosuppressants), with the aim of eliminating the antibodies that attack “by mistake” and the cells that produce them.  The majority of treatments lower the patient’s defences, making it important that the treatment is managed and controlled.

We support children in their transition to adulthood

Many of the diseases we treat are chronic and requite monitoring throughout the patient’s adult life. For this reason, we believe it is vital to share healthcare protocols, both diagnostic and therapeutic, between the adult and paediatric treatment units. Our patients continue treatment at Hospital Clínic de Barcelona when they reach adulthood.