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Novosibirsk scientists discover new multiple sclerosis diagnostics

Russian scientists have developed what is believed to be a “simple and efficient” method to diagnose multiple sclerosis, a disease that has had no reliable and affordable diagnostics technique so far, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a publication in Analytical Chemistry.

The new method comes from a group of researchers working at a number of Novosibirsk-based institutes run by the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord. In such patients, their own immune system destroys myelin, a dielectric biomaterial that insulates the axon of the neuron. Without myelin, nerves fail to conduct signals properly, which leads to motor, visual and sensor problems and brain disorders. The disease is currently considered incurable.

At the moment, MS diagnostics requires a whole range of examinations, including MRI and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis. None of these has proved 100% reliable when applied separately, and the entire combination is financially prohibitive for many patients and takes a lot of time.

Scientists led by Georgy Nevinsky of the Novosibirsk-based Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine found that multiple sclerosis patients generate special autoimmune antibodies, including those to myelin-associated proteins. “The presence of such antibodies is now viewed as a typical MS characteristic,” the researchers wrote in their publication.

They have synthesized specially designed molecules and ‘attached’ to those the molecules of obelin, a photoprotein. When such a complex molecule runs into an MS-typical antibody, the bioluminescent protein emits a quantum of light, and all scientists have to do is register the emission, the developers described.

The researchers underscore that their new method is simple and highly sensitive. However, it will require a wide variety of tests before regulators approve it for clinical use. 

2014-03-11, Marchmont News.


Keywords: medicine and healthcare, science, Novosibirsk Region

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