2012 Progress Report Edwin
Dr Edward Lim
received a fellowship supported by the Trish Foundation in 2011 to continue his
MS research at the University of NSW.
Dr Lim’s research is moving towards novel
therapeutic strategies for MS by modifying the kynurenine
Dr Lim works at the University of NSW in the
Neuroinflammation Group with Dr Gilles Guillemin.
Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid that
is used by the body as one of the building blocks of protein. The pathway that
breaks down tryptophan, the kynurenine pathway, is important in regulating the
immune response in MS and leads to the production of several active metabolites
which may be toxic to the brain.
Dr Lim’s results suggest that the kynurenine pathway
is dysregulated in MS. He has shown that one particular neurotoxin associated
with the pathway, is increased in MS and is showing exciting promise as a
potential biomarker to identify the different stages of MS. Biomarkers are
particularly useful, for example, in clinical trials to test whether new
therapies are working to halt the disease.
After manipulating the kynurenine pathway in the animal model of MS, Dr
Lim was able to limit the production of the toxic metabolites of the kynurenine
pathway in the brain and reverse the progression of disease. This exciting work
indicates that altering kynurenine metabolism may be an important therapeutic
approach for MS. Future work will examine the effect of these molecules on MS
brain cells grown in the laboratory to see if similar effects can be produced.