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Sunday

 

New Blood Test May Make ‘Off the Rack’ MS Treatments Closer to ‘Designer Drugs’


























By Trevis Gleason

Since the mid-1990s, the diagnosing process for most people suspected of having MS has included a lumbar puncture (also called a spinal tap) to look for certain antibodies and proteins, and an MRI scan to look for lesions in the brain.

Previous to that, immersion into a hot tub (to see if symptoms worsened with heat) and evoked response tests may have been used.

In the future, it’s possible that a test for blood biomarkers could become a standard part of the diagnostic process for MS — and it could also help to determine the best form of treatment for those diagnosed.

Chemical Identifiers of MS Progression

Earlier this month, Australian researchers announced they had discovered blood biomarkers of MS — after 12 years of research. The biomarkers not only identify the presence of MS but also help to determine a person’s stage of MS progression.

While a commercial blood test using this research is not yet available, one is currently being developed.

An Australian radio broadcast on the biomarker discovery gave a good sense of how the researchers see such a blood test for MS panning out.

The researchers hope this type of blood testing might also prove helpful for people with motor neuron disease/ALS (known in America as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

The Promise of Finding the Right Drug at the Outset

The day after the news broke, I was approached by an American marketing firm and asked to be on an advisory panel for a biotech firm looking to develop a blood test for MS in the United States. It looks like this breakthrough may be crossing the ocean soon. (I am looking at their proposal but have not accepted any position as an advisor.)

Of course, these tests have not yet been approved by regulatory agencies, but the promise of getting on the “right” drug from the beginning rather than hunting and pecking to find the best treatment would be a great improvement.

We’ve heard of “designer drugs” for other conditions in the past several years. The thought of genetically determined treatments for MS is appealing, but such treatments are likely a long way off — if in fact they are ever found.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by EVERYDAYHEALTH
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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