Researchers say they have found MS blood biomarker

February 06, 2017
A study by researchers at Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia, claims to have found the first blood biomarker for multiple sclerosis. A test using the biomarker is said to be able to discriminate between the three subtypes of the disease with 85-90 percent accuracy and could be available within as little as two years.
The international study that discovered the first blood biomarker – a chemical identifier in the blood – for MS took 12 years to discover. It will allow scientists to determine which type of MS a patient has with 85-90 percent accuracy. The new results show that a blood test could greatly simplify and speed up this process.
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 MS therapeutics with the possibility for the development of a more personalized treatment for those affected.
“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 Gilles Guillemin, who oversaw the study.
“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,” Guillemin said.

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