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ANZgene Consortium

 

The Foundation announced in 2007 the Australian MS Genetics Consortium, known as AusGene had received a special Linkage Grant from the Department of Education, Science and Training and the Australian Research Council (ARC). The Trish Foundation’s contribution of $200,000 was matched, along with the contribution by the John T Reid Charitable Trusts and the research facilitator, MS Research Australia, enabling a budget of over A$1million to be established at that time. Australian and New Zealand researchers joined forces, the University of Otago joining the Australian MS Genetics Consortium, which was consequently re-named ‘The ANZgene Consortium’.  With the successful formation of ANZgene came an invitation to join a massive international collaboration, coordinated from Cambridge (UK) and funded by the Wellcome Trust.

ANZgene is a collaboration of neurologists, genetics researchers, molecular biologists, data scientists and other researchers, from all around Australian and New Zealand who have an interest in understanding the genetics of MS. They have worked together since 2007, with MS Research Australia’s support, to collect over 3500 DNA samples from people with MS and analyse the samples to identify the MS risk genes. ANZgene members work together on research projects utilising samples from the collection as well as working with the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) on large scale genetic projects with worldwide involvement. ANZgene identified two of the genes related in MS risk in one of the earliest genetic studies in MS and have gone on to characterise the immune cells and pathways involved. They have contributed to both Australian and international research developments that have now led to the identification of over 200 genetic variations that contribute to MS.

Subsequently, the Trish Foundation funded Bioinformatics support for ANZGene, the Principal Investigator being Prof Jeannette Lechner-Scott, Hunter Medical Research Institute, to provide essential statistical analysis. This funding was put towards a Fellowship that was undertaken by A/Prof Rodney Lea. A/Prof Lea’s work will support ANZGene's new venture in epigenetics and ‘epigenome-wide’ association studies in MS. These studies focus on the way that the activity of genes change in response to the environment and medications and hope to provide the much needed link between genes and the environment in MS.

 

 
   

     
Trish Foundation & MS Research Australia Working together to find a cure for MS
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