CIRCLES Blood Bank


Because NMO is rare, every blood sample, data point, and patient experience is an invaluable piece of the puzzle to solve it. Biospecimens and patient health data (medical information) are precious resources that contain secrets to curing the disease. Participating in CIRCLES is one of the most important actions you can take to be part of the cure for NMO.

What is CIRCLES?

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CIRCLES is a clinical research study that focuses on better understanding and enabling cures for NMO. It is the largest multi-center NMO study in the world. It consists of two complementary activities:

  • A network of academic sites and clinical laboratories with special expertise to enroll participants and collect clinical data (medical information) and biospecimens.
  • A biorepository (blood bank) that ensures safe storage and ready access of biospecimens for breakthrough research in NMO.

What does it mean to be a CIRCLES participant?


Anyone who can commit to 2 blood draws at a CIRCLES site annually can join the study. NMO patients, family, friends, caregivers, everyone! Non-NMO participants may enroll as “control” subjects. Samples from immediate family could yield important information about genetic and environmental factors related to NMO. Participating in CIRCLES means you are working with the world’s foremost NMO experts, providing an invaluable contribution to solving NMO by:

Enrolling in the CIRCLES study to establish baseline medical information and biospecimen samples

Attending regular follow-up visits at your regional CIRCLES research site to update your medical information and donate samples

Reporting NMO relapses or other clinical events to your CIRCLES site doctor (PI) and study coordinator (CRC)

What Happens to Your Samples?

Your samples will be stored at the CIRCLES Biorepository. This is like a library where your samples will be kept along with de-identified medical information for authorized NMO researchers to access for research toward cures.

NMO researchers use samples to:

  • Develop and test new therapeutic targets
  • Discover how relapses are caused in order to try and prevent them
  • Learn new ways to diagnose NMO and NMOSD
  • Deduce which treatments work best for particular groups of patients
  • Better control, reduce and/or reverse side effects and symptoms

How to become a CIRCLES participant?

You can volunteer to become a CIRCLES participant by following these 4 simple steps:

Locate your regional CIRCLES site via the map below.


Contact the study coordinator (CRC) at that site to schedule an appointment.

Prepare to receive an enrollment package in the mail and complete it prior to your first visit. Your CRC can help you complete this information.

Schedule follow-up appointments with your CRC throughout the year, every year

What is the CIRCLES Site Network?


The CIRCLES network consists of multiple centers of excellence with deep expertise in caring for and studying patients with NMO. CIRCLES sites are located at leading medical centers across North America.

The CIRCLES network features:

  • CIRCLES sites in regions of the U.S. and Canada (also known as Home Bases) where participants can regularly contribute their clinical data (medical information) and biospecimens.
  • Biospecimen satellite draw sites across the U.S. where CIRCLES participants can contribute biospecimens.
  • A leading principal investigator (PI) in charge of each CIRCLES site.
  • A clinical research coordinator (CRC) who enrolls participants, schedules appointments, answers questions and coordinates clinical data and blood collection.

Regional CIRCLES Sites

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Regional CIRCLES sites include leading universities where neighboring NMO patients and qualified control participants can donate blood and clinical data. Regional sites allow participants who are unable to travel far distances to contribute to CIRCLES. These sites are considered Home Bases where NMO community members can participate, and join support group meetings, host events, and attend regional NMO Patient Days.

The CIRCLES Biorepository for NMO works in association with academic centers, reference laboratories, and commercial research organizations to ensure best practices in data and biospecimen management.

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