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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

Research Progress Report

Suppressing target genes implicated in MS

In 2013, Professor Allan Kermode received a project grant funded by the Trish MS Research Foundation in partnership with the MS Society of WA and MS Research Australia.

Professor Kermode and his colleagues at the Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute are investigating how the genetic and environmental risk factors for MS may interact to contribute to the disease.

One particular environmental factor that is associated with risk of MS is infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The team is investigating the presence and characteristics of EBV infection in a large population of around 800 people with MS in the Perth Demyelinating Disease Database (PDDD). They aim to better understand the immune response to EBV infection, and how this may be influenced in individuals by other factors that are known to increase risk of MS such as genetic make-up and early life sunlight exposure.

This project funded by the Trish MS Research Foundation is part of a much larger comprehensive project that aims to understand whether these factors influence the clinical characteristics of MS, the type of MS and the disease activity as seen in MRI scans.

Over the course of the year the team has been developing and optimising the experimental procedures required to measure the properties of different types of immune cells in people with MS. A technique called flow cytometry was used to quantify the levels of many different types of immune cells including T cells, T helper cells, and B cells. They will require further time in 2014 to complete the analysis on the immune cells from people with MS and to correlate this with the genetics of the patients. 

Professor Kermode’s work aims to investigate whether specific immune cells may interact with the proteins found in different viral strains and how this might relate to mistaken recognition and immune responses to ‘self’ in different disease stages. Additional analyses will identify the influence of Vitamin D levels on the balance of immune cell levels in the blood, and its influence of immune cell activation.  

This information will help in the development of a detailed profile of MS that can be used in disease diagnosis and monitoring.  

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