Improving the safety and efficacy of MS treatments - MS Research Australia

Improving the safety and efficacy of MS treatments

Dr Stefan Blum

The University of Queensland, QLD

| Better treatments | Immunology | Project | 2019 | Investigator Led Research |


Natalizumab (Tysabri) is a medication currently available to people with relapsing remitting MS. While this treatment can be very effective in reducing the impact of MS, as with all medications it can also have side effects. One rare but devastating risk of Natalizumab treatment is the development of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a viral infection that attacks the brain. Currently, due to the lack of a suitable tool to assess individual effectiveness in each person, all patients receive the same dose and have the same monthly dosage schedule. In some cases, this may be higher than needed, and unnecessarily increase the risk of PML in these people.

This project aims to address this issue, by testing the effectiveness of Natalizumab in people being treated for MS. This team will use a newly developed test, called leukocyte adhesive function assay at various time points after the Natalizumab infusion and compare the results to other traditional methods. It is hoped that the new method will provide more accurate information that will allow Natalizumab dosing to be tailored for individuals.

The outcome of this study has the potential to change the current treatment schedules for Natalizumab therapy, reducing side effects and maximising the benefits of this potentially highly effective medication for people with MS.

Updated: 23 January 2019

Updated: 05 January, 2019

Stages of the research process

Fundamental laboratory

Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 10+ years

Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.

Lab to clinic timeline: 5+ years
Clinical Studies
and Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 1-5 years



Grant Awarded

  • Project Grant

Total Funding

  • $75,000


  • 2 years - starting 2019

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