Posted on Feb 07, 2017, 6 a.m.
A simple blood test to identify MS subtypes is on the horizon due to a discovery by an international team of researchers.
A blood test to identify the subtype of multiple sclerosis (MS) might be as little as a couple of years away thanks to the recent discovery of a blood biomarker. A team of international medical researchers has pinpointed a key biomarker after a dozen years of work. This biomarker will permit MS subtypes to be identified with a quick and easy blood test.
At the moment, there is no known cure for MS. However, treatments are available to ward off new attacks and boost patient functionality following an attack. The key is to determine the subtype of the disease and the odds of success for particular treatment modalities in each idiosyncratic patient. Such efforts require several costly and time-consuming tests.
Why the Discovery Matters
At the moment, when an individual is diagnosed with MS, he endures a lengthy wait before the disease's subtype can be identified. In this period of time, the patient can obtain medication yet it won't prove effective for weeks. The international team of researchers referenced above reports that the biomarker blood test is able to specify a patient's type of MS with upwards of 90 percent accuracy. The importance of this breakthrough is that it will empower doctors to adapt treatments in considerably less time.
One of the study's overseers, Professor Gilles Guillemin from Australia's Macquarie University, states the discovery will also help clinicians modify treatments for MS sufferers in a quick and precise manner. The researchers also hope their work will pave the way for the creation of new therapeutics and highly personalized treatments for MS sufferers.
A Look Toward the Future
The study's lead researcher, Dr. Lim, has stated the information derived from each patient's biomarker will make it possible to create idiosyncratic biomarker guided treatment for each MS sufferer. Lim's biomarker test makes use of tryptophan, an amino acid that scientists understand to play a part in brain inflammation. The hope is that this medical research breakthrough leads to a better understanding of diseases caused by neurodegeneration and inflammation ranging from Parkinson's Disease to Alzheimer's Disease and Lou Gehrig's Disease (also known as motor neurone disease). Lim's team of medical researchers are working to create a testing solution that will likely be available on a global scale at some point in the next couple of years.
Kynurenine pathway metabolomics predicts and provides mechanistic insight into multiple sclerosis progression Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 41473 (2017) doi:10.1038/srep41473 Published online: 03 February 2017