First blood biomarker discovered for the prognosis of multiple sclerosis: quick, accurate and soon to be available

An international study, led by Macquarie University researchers Dr Edwin Lim and Professor Gilles Guillemin, has discovered the first blood biomarker – a chemical identifier in the blood – for multiple sclerosis (MS), a debilitating disorder of the central nervous system that affects more than 23,000 Australians and 2.3 million people worldwide.

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The findings, which took 12 years to discover, will allow scientists to determine which type of MS a patient has with 85-90 per cent accuracy. While following the course of the disease has traditionally proved problematic and lengthy, requiring patients to undergo an array of expensive tests, the new results show that a blood test could greatly simplify and speed up this process.

“This is a significant discovery because it will facilitate the ability to quickly and simply make a prognosis of the three types of MS and will allow clinicians to adapt their treatment for MS patients more accurately and rapidly,” explained Professor Gilles Guillemin, who oversaw the study.

“With the support of Dianti MS Pty. Ltd., an Australian company, we are currently developing a new prognostic kit with Dr Alban Bessede at ImmuSmol, France which will help the medical profession and laboratories around the world quickly and easily identify the type of MS the patients has,” he added.

The researchers say that a clinical blood test kit could potentially be available in as little as two years, and the research will also likely provide an entirely new avenue of multiple sclerosis therapeutics with the possibility for the development of a more personalised treatment regime for those affected.

“The unique information that we will receive from the biomarker within an individual, means that it could also be possible develop biomarker guided personalised treatment for each patient,” said Dr Lim, the lead researcher of the study, who is currently based at Macquarie University and who was previously an MS Research Australia Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UNSW Sydney, where the research for this study was first initiated.

Dr Matthew Miles CEO of MS Research Australia one of the early and ongoing supporters of this work, commented: “MS Research Australia has been an enthusiastic supporter of this research right from its inception. We have been excited to be part of the translation of this initially fundamental research into a potential clinical 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.”

The results are also likely to be integral in understanding the progression of other diseases caused by inflammation and neurodegeneration, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s or motor neurone disease.

“The test itself relies on detecting compounds within a specific biochemical pathway that uses a chemical called tryptophan. Tryptophan is known to be involved in brain inflammation, and so by increasing our understanding of how our cells process tryptophan, we will be better able to identify its involvement in many types of neurodegenerative diseases,” Professor Guillemin concluded.

Check out original article here.

If you have been diagnosed with MS, you might be eligible to donate plasma or a blood specimen and earn $600 or more. Visit www.plasmamedpatients.com for more info or call/text 561-962-5065.

What, Me Donate Plasma for Research?

The reasons are fairly obvious and straightforward. Research undertaken in the past by committed and forward-thinking people has given us a standard of living and life expectancies that would have been unimaginable not that long ago. It’s easy to take all of this for granted. Treatments for diseases that were deadly and intractable didn’t come out of a vacuum. Every one of us is healthier, happier, and some of us are actually still alive, solely because some nameless people made a commitment to research.

Participation in research studies comes in a few broad categories. Some studies seek only patient records in order to establish trends and extract data on the relative successes and failures of various treatment modalities. Other studies administer investigational drugs to patients in double-blind trials as part of the final phases of their approval. At Plasma MedResearch, LLC, we recruit patients for a third type of study. Our participants donate biospecimens in the form of plasma or blood samples along with various other body tissues and fluids as research requirements dictate. These patients are then compensated for their donation, time and travel, depending on the study and the specimen given.

Why are people reluctant to get involved? There are many reasons ranging from logistics, family/work responsibilities, impaired health, lack of mobility, and privacy concerns. These are all very valid reasons to take a pass on participating. In this day and age people are simply not comfortable having their personal information “out there”. This is understandable. Anyone who works with Plasma MedResearch, LLC, can rest assured that their personal information is protected. We meet and exceed all existing HIPAA and regulatory requirements for the safeguarding of personal information. Our commitment to our donors’ privacy cannot overstated.

We serve biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical companies, and Universities around the world. Our capabilities include a wide range of disease-state biospecimens, from Arthritis to Zika. People who consider donating often ask to know what research institution will be using their specimen and the exact nature of the study. Although this is a great question, it is not possible to answer. Regulations require a strict de-linking between donor and researcher. The most important part of this that researchers cannot know any identifying information about the person who provided the specimen. This is a critical protection for the donor. But, as a consequence, the donor cannot be privy to information about the people and company(ies) doing the actual research.

The selfless act of donating a specimen to a particular research study will have a positive ripple effect down through the generations, improving the quality of life on planet Earth.