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Feb 2017
Trish Foundation contributes to first-ever discovery
Jun 2017
Researchers funded by the Trish Foundation making great progress
Dec 2017
Announcement by NHMRC
Jan 2018
2018 Round of Funding Four new Projects announced
Jun 2018
Exciting regrowth of nerve fibres
Jun 2018
Dr Merson secures $1 million from NHMRC
Jun 2018
Findings submitted for publication
Jan 2019
New Research Projects commencing 2019 announced

Peptide drugs to treat MS

Associate Professor Richard Hughes, University of Melbourne, Victoria
Dr Susan Northfield, University of Melbourne, Victoria
Dr Simon Murray, University of Melbourne, Victoria

Incubator Grant - $21,000 over 2016
With full funding support from the Trish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation


The growth and re-growth of myelin is under the control of many different factors. Associate Professor Hughes and his collaborators including MS Research Australia-funded Dr Simon Murray, are studying the role of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein in controlling the growth of myelin.

In the brain, BDNF binds to a receptor called TrkB, which is found on myelin-producing oligodendrocytes. Activation of the TrkB receptor via BDNF is crucial for the normal development of myelin in the nervous system. Using BDNF to increase myelin growth in diseases such as MS may have potential for a new treatment strategy. However, the BDNF protein itself is not suitable because it is too large and broken down too quickly in the body.

Associate Professor Hughes and his colleagues have instead developed a protein that mimics the actions of BDNF, called TDP6. Early analysis of TDP6 show promise for increasing myelin growth in cells grown in the laboratory. However, synthesis of TDP6 is time-consuming and low yielding. This incubator grant will enable Associate Professor Hughes and his colleagues to further study TDP6 and related compounds to develop strategies for quick and efficient synthesis of TDP6-related compounds that may be suitable as candidates for further drug development to promote myelin growth in MS.    

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