Unravelling the Mysteries of Multiple Sclerosis

13 July 2023

A Groundbreaking Genetic Breakthrough

Multiple sclerosis (MS), a complex neurological condition affecting millions worldwide, has long perplexed medical researchers seeking effective treatments.

However, there may be hope on the horizon as the Perron Institute, in collaboration with an international study, achieved a major breakthrough in MS research: the identification of the first genetic marker associated with MS severity.

This remarkable discovery not only advances our understanding of the disease, but also has the potential to revolutionise long-term disability treatments for those living with MS.

Published in the prestigious journal Nature, the groundbreaking study involved an impressive collaboration of over 22,000 individuals with MS from across the globe.

Under the leadership of Professor Kermode, spearheading Demyelinating Diseases Research at the Perron Institute and the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Innovative Therapeutics at Murdoch University, the research team also included Dr. Fabis-Pedrini, a Senior Research Fellow funded by MSWA.

Both distinguished researchers have been acknowledged as co-authors from Western Australia for their remarkable contributions to this international study.

Excitement abounds in the scientific community as Professor Kermode shares his enthusiasm for the results, stating that the genetic marker discovery has flung wide open the door to understanding the intricate mechanisms underlying MS.

This unprecedented insight paves the way for developing treatments that can significantly enhance recovery and halt disease progression, ushering in a new era of hope for MS patients.

CAPTION Prof Allan Kermode and Dr Marzena Fabis Pedrini in the Perron Institute lab

Dr. Fabis-Pedrini echoes the sentiment, emphasising the significance of identifying the genetic variant linked to MS severity.

This crucial advance not only holds potential for new drug discovery, but also aims to preserve the wellbeing of people living with MS, marking a major stride towards improving the lives of those affected by the disease.

The latest data underscores the far-reaching effects of neurological conditions on people's lives and serves as a poignant reminder of the need for continued dedication to research and fundraising efforts.

The commissioned report by MS Australia reveals that 33,335 Australians were living with MS in 2021, with 3,040 individuals based in Western Australia, indicating an increase from 2017 figures. This growing prevalence highlights the urgency of MS research and support.

MSWA remains resolute in its commitment empowering people to live their best lives and providing the best possible support. Over the past decade, MSWA has contributed an astounding $34 million to research, bolstering hope for advancements in MS treatments.