MS is a chronic disease of the brain and spinal cord that effects everyone differently, disease progression is difficult to predict and currently cannot be prevented. Due to the unpredictable disease course and treatment response, easily obtained biomarkers of disease activity in MS are urgently needed. At present, the clinical parameters that are used to assess disease activity and response to therapy depend on relapses rates, MRI outcomes, and changes in disability. One possible marker is the amount of proteins in the blood known as neurofilaments. These proteins are normally found inside nerve cells where they act as a skeleton for the cells, but as the nerve cells die these proteins are released into the body and they are thought to be a measure of damage that is occurring in the brain.
Elevated levels of these proteins have been found in other neurological conditions such as Alzheimer Disease, Motor Neuron Disease and in clinically definite MS. This study is looking whether these proteins are present in the blood in people who have experienced a first demyelinating event, before a full diagnosis of MS. If the neurofilaments are found, this may indicate early damage occurring in the brain very early on in the disease process. This may help to identify people that would benefit from treatment prior to the onset of clinically diagnosed MS.
Updated: 15 August 2018
Updated: 02 January, 2018