Research

Our commitment to research

Over the past 11 years, MSWA has invested nearly $14 million to fund research into finding the cause, better treatments and a cure for MS and other neurological conditions.

We believe that local, national, and international research provides hope for people living with a neurological condition and will improve the lives of our Members and Clients and their families

In recent years, thanks to our investment into research, understanding of MS and neurological conditions has significantly improved. This investment would not be possible without Western Australians supporting our fundraising initiatives which allow MSWA funded researchers to develop new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat neurological conditions.

Here are some highlights of current research in progress with funding from MSWA.

Seeking a biomarker of MS activity

Professor Allan Kermode, Head of Demyelinating Diseases Research at The Perron Institute.

People living with MS respond to treatments in very different ways. For the treating clinician, it’s important to make an early assessment of a treatment’s effectiveness.

Available assessment methods such as MRI’s or monitoring of symptoms are time-consuming and expensive. A project led by Professor Allan Kermode of the Perron Institute is looking into the potential of using neurofilament light (NfL), as a biomarker of MS activity. They are hoping to develop a simple blood test to use for precise, timely assessment of a patient’s response to their treatment, and possibly as an early marker for relapse, for MS.

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Perron Institute 011 Clinical Professor Allan Kermode

Boosting research into Motor Neurone Disease

A $200,000 donation from MSWA is funding two grants which will support two projects. One is research into proteins linked to the progression of motor neurone disease (MND) and the second is funding a ground-breaking national study into the needs of carers and families of people experiencing end-of-life care and bereavement.

These grants are MSWA’s first funding allocation to research into MND (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS).

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Light therapy for early MS cases

Professor Prue Hart, Telethon Kids Institute

In a world-first, a Perth Professor has delayed the development of MS in high-risk individuals using narrowband UVB treatment, used to treat the skin condition psoriasis. A small trial conducted by Professor Prue Hart found that in 3 out of 10 people, with a single episode of MS who were treated with UVB, the progression of their MS was halted.

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Prue Hart

Understanding how the brain can repair itself

Associate Professor Jenny Rodger, Perron Institute

How the brain works has intrigued Associate Professor Jenny Rodger for almost 30 years, with a lot of her work focusing on brain plasticity – the ability of the brain to change throughout someone’s life by rewiring or modifying neural connections.

Associate Professor Rodger has joined the research team at Western Australia’s Perron Institute, thanks to $1 million funding, over 4 years, from MSWA.

MSWA0646 Jenny Lab 113 Rv1 Wall Blur edited

“I’ve always been interested in the way the brain works. For me it’s not about how someone feels but what happens inside their brain to make them feel or act the way they do. That for me is more important and that’s where brain plasticity and brain stimulation come in,” said Associate Professor Rodger.

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Protecting the brain after a stroke

Adjunct Associate Professor Bruno Meloni and Clinical Professor Neville Knuckey, Perron Institute.

MSWA-provided one off funding to further this exciting research which is assessing the effectiveness of the peptide R18D in a stroke model.

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Proving links between diet and MS

Many people who are newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) are keen to know if a change of diet can help reduce their symptoms and/or improve their health outcomes.

At present there is no reliable evidence linking diet and the onset and or progression of MS after diagnosis. Dr Lucinda Black, Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University, investigated perceptions of diet and MS amongst people newly diagnosed with MS. That research was published last year in a paper entitled Dietary responses to a multiple sclerosis diagnosis: a qualitative study.

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Other research

Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for MS, Dr Marzena Pedrini

The research by Dr Marzena Pedrini from The Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute is investigating whether rebooting the immune system will turn off the overactive immune activity which can reduce inflammation and prevent MS relapses.

Enhancing balance and gait in patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Professor Soumya Ghosh

MSWA is supporting this WA based project by Professor Soumya Ghosh with both an incubator grant and two years top up funding.

This study is evaluating whether combining non-invasive brain stimulation, using transcranial direct current stimulation, with balance therapy improves mobility and independence in MS patients who have a balance and/or walking impairment.

Genetic variation in the Esptein-Barr Virus (EBV), Professor David Nolan and Dr Monika Tschochner

This WA research by Professor David Nolan and Dr Monika Tschochner explores new evidence of genetic vulnerability that may contribute to the role that EBV plays in MS Risk.

Rewiring the brain and cognitive rehabilitation, Dr Michelle Byrne

Dr Michelle Byrne, the Head of the Clinical Psychology Unit, Centre for Neuromuscular and Neurological Disorders at The University for Western Australia’s research focussed on evaluating computerised cognitive retraining programs was effective in improving cognitive function in people with MS.

To find out more about our investment in research, or our locally funded research programs, contact:

Libby Cassidy - MSWA Brand & Communications Manager
M 0424 136 560
E libby.cassidy@mswa.org.au