Alliance Makes Progress on a Blood Test for MS
The International Progressive MS Alliance
recently published a paper in the prestigious scientific journal, Neurology, that helps further advance a novel biomarker for MS (neurofilament light or NfL) with the potential to predict disease activity and disability progression through routine blood tests.
Over the past several years, there’s been a lot of buzz in the MS research community around a protein found in blood, neurofilament light (NfL), as a potential biomarker for MS. Mounting research suggests NfL’s promise as a quick and easy way to predict disease activity and monitor response to treatment, representing a potential breakthrough for all people with MS but particularly those living with progressive MS who lack effective treatments due to gaps in objective clinical trial biomarkers.
In 2018, the International Progressive MS Alliance recognized the promise of NfL and convened several MS investigators around the world who had been working on NfL independently of each other. Through this connection point, the Alliance fostered global collaboration to advance the research community’s collective understanding of this potential biomarker and its application for progressive MS in particular.
Last month’s Neurology paper represents the collective analysis of expert stakeholders on the potential of NfL as a biomarker in MS, and progressive MS in particular, and outlines additional research needed to advance the field and actions that need to be taken to signal NfL’s promise with regulatory entities in the U.S. and Europe.
Through your support, the National MS Society and the International Progressive MS Alliance will take the lead on these next steps to further accelerate this potential breakthrough for those living with MS.
Understanding Racial Differences in Disease Activity
Black and Latinx people with MS more often experience an aggressive disease course
compared to white people with MS. To understand why this is so, Society-funded researchers at Weill Cornell are investigating immune cell differences in Black and Latinx people to better predict and treat MS in these populations. A previous study found a higher concentration of immune antibodies in the spinal fluid of Black and Latinx people with MS compared to white people, so the Weill Cornell team is asking whether B cells, which make antibodies, are present in greater numbers or have a greater inflammatory function in these populations.
The outcomes of this study will not only help to better inform treatments strategies for Black and Latinx people, but insights gained will help contribute to a larger body of knowledge on what causes MS and how to stop it in all populations.