Edwin Lim on target for
Dr Edwin Lim is a
talented young researcher who completed his PhD in MS in 2010. In 2011, Dr Lim
was awarded a three year grant partly funded by the Trish MS Research
Foundation to support his innovative project searching for new diagnostic and
therapeutic targets in MS. Dr Lim is investigating the role of tryptophan metabolism in MS.
Originally based at the University of NSW, Dr Lim is now working alongside Dr
Gilles Guillemin at Macquarie University.
Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid that
is used by the body as one of the building blocks of protein and is involved in
many aspects of repair in the body. Dr Lim has discovered that the pathway that
breaks down tryptophan does not function as it should in the MS brain and that
this leads to the production of active toxins. Tracking the amount of this
toxin may be useful as a way of determining the amount of damage in the brain
and represents a potential biomarker for identifying disease activity in MS.
When Dr Lim blocked the tryptophan pathway using
inhibitory molecules in laboratory models of MS, he found that he could limit
the production of toxins and reverse the progression of disease. This raises
the exciting possibility that blocking this pathway, and in particular the use
of these molecules, may be an important therapeutic approach for MS.
In his continuing work, Dr Lim will examine the specific effect of these
molecules on brain support cells, both on cells grown in the laboratory and in
laboratory models of MS. This work should determine the exact mechanism
underpinning the promising effects Dr Lim has seen so far, with these further
results expected by the end of 2013.