New funding could improve MS diagnosis and treatment

Newly acquired funding will kickstart a research project that will ultimately help in improving diagnosis and treatment for adults and children with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other neurological autoimmune diseases.

Associate Professor Fabienne Brilot-Turville from Kids Research has been awarded a $25,000 incubator grant from MS Research Australia to investigate the role of brain auto-antibodies in MS and determine whether measuring these auto-antibodies is a better method for differentiating between MS and other neurological autoimmune diseases.

“In addition to MS, there are other diseases in which the immune system attacks and damages the optic nerve, brain and spinal cord."

“It can be challenging when diagnosing these diseases to correctly differentiate between them and MS, but it’s so important to do so given they have different treatment options."

“This grant will assist with measuring auto-antibodies in the blood to help differentiate these diseases,” said Associate Professor Brilot-Turville.

Over the next year, Dr Sudarshini Ramanathan, NHRMC Postdoctoral Research Fellow and adult neurologist, and Professor Russell Dale, Clinical Director of the Kids Neuroscience Centre, will work alongside Associate Professor Brilot-Turville in this research.

The MS Research Australia incubator grants will provide seed funding for the early stages of Associate Professor Brilot-Turville’s research efforts, with the aim of generating the preliminary data needed to support future grant applications.

 “We are delighted to provide funding to Associate Professor Fabienne Brilot-Turville’s research into auto-antibodies – a novel idea which will contribute to our understanding of different autoimmune diseases and provide methods for better diagnosis. Ultimately this will help optimise treatment for individuals and improve the lives of people living with MS. We are excited to see the outcomes of this research,” Dr Julia Morahan, Head of Research at MS Research Australia said.

Incubator grants are awarded for completely new ideas in MS research and give researchers the opportunity to follow-up unusual findings and test ideas without having to commit to full projects.

From the first round of incubator grant applications held in 2020, six new grants have been awarded totalling just over $146,500 in funding.

For more information, visit the MS Research Australia website.