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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

Blocking brain and spinal
cord damage in MS


It has long been known that the symptoms of the MS result from an immune attack on the myelin, the protective sheath that covers the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord. However, it is now thought that other targets can be also be damaged in MS leading to the destruction of nerve fibres.  


Mr Jae Lee, from the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories, was awarded a postgraduate scholarship in 2013, funded by the Trish MS Research Foundation, to carry out research towards a PhD looking at ways to block a modified protein that is known to damage nerve fibres. The project is using novel methods and delivery systems to the brain and spinal cord, and it is hoped that this research will provide a new approach for preventing illness progression in people with MS.

Jae is working with Dr Steven Petratos, who was a recipient in the Trish Foundation’s inaugural round of funding, and has made excellent progress in his research. Jae has shown that blocking the modified protein was associated with significantly less damage to the myelin surrounding the nerve fibres in a laboratory model of MS. He also showed that the mice that lacked a gene involved in the same pathway had less severe symptoms of MS.

These mice may also have differences in the structure of the nerve fibres and myelin – which may have important repercussions for future treatment options for MS.

Most recently, Jae has completed some very exciting work which moves this research to human cells. In this phase of the study, Jae used human haematopoietic stem cells to produce a type of cell that can mature into myelin-producing oligodendrocyte cells, in order to study the process of remyelination. Jae Lee’s findings in this area have been very interesting and may be useful in determining new treatment options for MS. The team have recently filed for a provisional patent based on this work.  

‘During my PhD, I have been able to decipher one molecular mechanism behind axonal degeneration and remyelination in MS and it is promising to target these mechanisms during MS to halt progression of disease. Although, this research has not completed yet, so far I think my PhD was very successful’ commented Jae Lee.

We agree. Jae Lee’s research has so far resulted in eight publications in the scientific literature, with three more in preparation. Jae was also able to spend two months in a Canadian research laboratory as part of an international collaboration. Over the course of his degree, Jae has also presented his research to his peers at four international conferences and five national conferences. Feedback from more experienced researchers is vital to the development of young researchers such as Jae Lee. We look forward to more exciting results from him in the years to come.

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