First-ever blood biomarker
Research Australia incubator grant of just $15,000 has been the catalyst for a
major International study, led by Australian researchers Dr Edwin Lim and
Professor Gilles Guillemin from Macquarie University. They have discovered the
first-ever blood biomarker – a chemical identifier in the blood – for
distinguishing the different types of multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is the most
commonly acquired neurological condition in young people in the world and is
caused by the immune system attacking the body. It is a very complex and varied
disease where treatment decisions and management for each individual can be
MS has three recognised forms, relapsing remitting MS, secondary progressive MS
and primary progressive MS. The various forms of MS are likely to be due to
different changes in the immune system and have very different outcomes and
treatment implications. Traditionally, distinguishing between MS subtypes and
confirming diagnosis has been a lengthy and challenging process requiring an array
of tests. But the process looks set to change, thanks to this breakthrough.
Professor Guillemin explains 'This is a significant discovery because it will
facilitate the ability to quickly and simply diagnose the three types of MS and
will allow clinicians to adapt their treatment for MS patients more accurately
and more rapidly'.
incubator grant program, which provides key seed funding for innovative and
“out of the box” MS research ideas provided funding to this novel research in
2008. This pilot funding with outstanding research outcomes then led to an MS
Research Australia Fellowship for Dr Lim, followed by further highly
competitive NHMRC funding. Our analysis has shown that, on average, MS
researchers have been able to leverage our incubator grant with over 27 times
the initial funding from other prestigious sources.
Matthew Miles CEO of MS Research Australia said 'We have been excited to be
part of the translation of this fundamental research into a potential clinical
blood test. This has the clear capacity to be the first ever blood biomarker
for the prognosis of MS, and in doing so will meet one of the real unmet needs
in the clinical management of MS.'
only does this research open the possibility of a test to discriminate between
the types of MS, but it might also provide key insights into the changes that
go on at a cellular level leading to the different forms of MS enabling
development of further, targeted, treatment options for people with MS. It also
has potential implications for other diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s
and Motor Neuron Disease.
entire process would never have been possible without the incredible funding
support of the Trish MS Research Foundation, MS Angels (Sydney) and several
other generous individuals.
world-first research was recently published in the prestigious scientific
Scientific Reports. The scientists believe that a quick and accurate blood
test for this could be a reality in the next 2 years.
Article sourced from MS Research Australia