A potential therapy for
progressive forms of MS
The Trish Foundation is supporting a three-year MS Research Australia Project Grant awarded to Dr Peter Crouch who will begin preclinical trials of a therapy for progressive multiple sclerosis” at The University of Melbourne. Dr Crouch’s Co-investigators are Dr James Hilton, Dr Blaine Roberts, Dr Paul Donnelly and Dr Dominic Hare.
MS is a very varied disease and people experience different levels of disability. The majority of people with MS are diagnosed with a form of the disease called relapsing-remitting MS, which is characterised by acute attacks followed by periods of remission in which the disease doesn't progress. Around half of these people will go on to develop a form of MS which is progressive, called secondary progressive MS, where there is a gradual accumulation of disabilities. The rarest form, primary progressive MS, is progressive from the start. Unfortunately, there is a severe shortage of treatment options for people with progressive disease.
The development of treatment options for progressive MS is hampered by the current lack of understanding of the biochemical mechanisms that differentiate relapsing-remitting MS from the progressive forms. Dr Crouch has discovered that copper which is normally found in the body, is not distributed normally in the body of people with progressive MS, and hypothesis this effects the function of some of the body's enzymes leading to changes in the biochemical processes in individual cells.
Dr Peter Crouch aims to use this project grant to quantify the amount of copper in tissue from the brain and spinal cord in people with and without MS. He is also hoping to understand how copper in the body influences the molecular mechanisms that underpin progressive MS, and to begin pre-clinical trials of a potential therapy for progressive forms of the disease.