RESEARCH GIVES HOPE TO MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS SUFFERERS – November, 2002

Professor Lyn Griffiths and her team, including PhD student Lotti Tajouri, at the Genomics Research Centre at Griffith University have identified 21 genes involved in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Their studies have found that these genes are abnormally expressed, some increased and some decreased in affected brain tissue. MS is a serious neurological disorder affecting young people, with the onset usually between 18 and 40 years of age. With the exception of trauma, MS remains a major cause of neurological disability in young adults. In their preliminary studies, the Griffith researchers have isolated Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) from non-MS and MS-affected brain material and they have performed micro array analyses to identify genes showing abnormal expression. “If we can identify gene expression differences in affected and unaffected multiple sclerosis tissue, we may be able to define the genes involved in Multiple Sclerosis pathology and eventually explore therapeutic possibilities,” Professor Griffiths said. “The aim is to identify genes involved in MS and then to investigate new methods of treatment,” she said. Females account for about 60 per cent of MS cases around the world, and statistics from the United States estimate a person has a 1/1000 chance of developing the disease. This risk rises to 1/100, even to 1/50, for close relatives of a sufferer of MS, with a 1/3 chance for an identical twin of a sufferer developing the disease. The Genomics Research Centre has just recently identified these 21 target genes and is currently investigating the diagnostic and treatment possibilities associated with their studies. They are looking for Australian suffers wishing to help with their research. Participation would include answering a questionnaire and donating a blood sample also some medical history will be necessary from your doctor e.g. treatments, medications, method of diagnosis etc. It is not necessary to visit the GRC Clinic.

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