Proposing a Clinical App to Predict Outcomes and Costs in MS
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a challenging neurological disorder in which the immune system targets the specialized myelin covering of nerve fibers, causing abnormal alteration in neural communication. Patients with MS are debilitated and often have fatigue, seizures, paralysis, depression, and other serious symptoms. Dr. Kanika Sharma, of the University of Iowa, hopes to improve outcomes and reduce costs for patients with MS by gaining a better understanding of risk factors these patients face. To take this an important step further, Dr. Sharma and her team plan to develop a clinical web/mobile application based on this risk information, which will empower MS patients, caregivers, and clinicians to personalize their care and achieve greater outcomes at reduced cost.
Unlocking the Secrets of the Immune System
Our immune system is a diverse and complex group of cells that patrol the body and eliminate infection and even cancer cells. Unfortunately, the immune system can sometimes become overly active, ramping up inflammation and targeting our own healthy tissue. When this happens the immune system can wreak havoc on the body, causing a diverse range of debilitating diseases, from inflammatory bowel disease to multiple sclerosis and even Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Steffen Jung and his team at the Weizmann Institute of Science hope to identify new ways to keep these rogue immune cells in check, which may offer new ways to treat autoimmune diseases of the gut and brain.
Increasing Accuracy of Current Diagnostics in MS
It is difficult to determine whether a patient suffering from a first demyelinating event will or will not go on to develop relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. The current way of determining risk of conversion to relapsing MS after a first demyelinating event is to measure MRI parameters and determine whether or not the patient has unique spinal fluid antibodies called oligoclonal bands using a test that was developed over fifty years ago. These tests are helpful, but fall short in their ability to provide accurate and detailed prognostic information for patients and their physicians. Dr. Schubert and his team are leveraging advancements in genomics, computer science, and clinical medicine to test whether a comprehensive picture of a patient’s spinal fluid antibody “fingerprint” can improve the predictive power and accuracy of current MS diagnostics.
The American Brain Foundation is proud to partner with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to support this project.