Researchers work on predicting the severity of multiple sclerosis.
Cells in the immune system of patients with multiple sclerosis behave differently from those of healthy individuals. Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have exploited this difference to develop a method that can predict disease activity in multiple sclerosis.
It is not currently possible to know which individuals with multiple sclerosis risk developing severe disease. Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that mainly affects young adults. The disease is a life-long condition.
The researchers behind the new study hope that the method they have developed will contribute to answering the question why certain patients suffer less severely with the disease than others. Eventually, a test may be developed for use in patient management.
The new study, published in the scientific journal Cell Reports, describes how the researchers have sought biomarkers that can be used in MS. Biomarkers are naturally occurring substances in the body that can be measured in, for example, blood and that mirror a condition in the body. They are used in medical care to follow the progression of a disease and measure the effect of a treatment. The researchers compared immune cells from patients with MS with cells from healthy controls. They discovered important differences in the functioning of cells from healthy and sick individuals. The researcher investigated how large numbers of proteins interact with each other, and used new bioinformatics methods to find those that are highly significant in MS.
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