MS research breakthrough

14 February 2017

Last week marked the announcement of one of the most significant advances in understanding multiple sclerosis and we are delighted to share this news with you.

Australian scientists Edwin Lim and Gilles Guillemin of Macquarie University led the research team who have discovered the first-ever blood biomarker that will now be developed into a simple test expected to revolutionise treatment of MS.

MS is the most commonly acquired neurological condition in young people in the world and is caused by the immune system attacking the body. It is a very complex and varied disease where treatment decisions and management for individuals can be challenging.

MS has three recognised forms, relapsing remitting MS, secondary progressive MS and primary progressive MS. The various forms of MS are likely to be due to different changes in the immune system and have very different outcomes and treatment implications.

Traditionally, distinguishing between MS subtypes and confirming diagnosis has been a lengthy and challenging process requiring an array of tests. But the process looks set to change, thanks to this breakthrough.

Professor Guillemin explains, “This is a significant discovery because it will facilitate the ability to quickly and simply diagnose the three types of MS and will allow clinicians to adapt their treatment for MS patients more accurately and more rapidly.”

Not only does this research open the possibility of a test to discriminate between the types of MS, but it will also provide key insights into the changes that go on at a cellular level leading to the different forms of MS, potentially enabling development of further, targeted, treatment options for people with MS. It also has implications for other diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Disease. The scientists believe that a quick and accurate blood test could be a reality in the next two years.

MSWA is extremely proud of our position as the largest funder of research into MS in Australia. In the last year alone, we invested just under $2 million dollars marking another record for MSWA as the highest contributor in the country for funding of this kind.

We are able to continually increase these contributions thanks to the generosity of the people of Western Australia, who support each of our fundraising activities such as the MSWA Mega Home Lottery, MSWA Ocean Ride and Step Up events.

This new breakthrough brings us closer in our continued search to find the cause and cure for MS.

For more information about this research breakthrough, please contact MSWA via