Thursday, April 8, 2010

Multiple Sclerosis: Doctors Find Bio-Marker That Indicates MS

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) researchers have found the first bio-marker for multiple sclerosis (MS). Bio-markers are genetic codes that indicate whether an MS patient will respond to standard therapy or not.

The UAB team discovered that patients with a specific type of T helper immune cells respond well to the usual first-line therapy for the disease while those patients with a different type of T helper immune cells do not and even experience worsening symptoms.

For those patients who don't respond well to conventional MS treatments, there is a personalized medicine in which therapies are based on an individual's physiology and genetic makeup and the nature of disease.

According to Chander Raman, Ph.D., lead investigator of the study, their findings, in both animal and human models, indicate that the type of T helper cell present is the determining factor in predicting whether interferon-ß will be effective. He suggests this might be another rung on the ladder leading to personalized medicine. A simple blood test could be used to determine which type of T helper cell is predominantly responsible for the disease in an MS patient, enabling clinicians to provide the proper therapy from the beginning of treatment and eliminate the guesswork.

by: Kristine Gonzaga

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