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30/05/2022

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society of the United States funds a study led by Dr. Manuel Comabella

The-National-Multiple-Sclerosis-Society-Manuel-Comabella

30/05/2022

The research aims to identify which patients with isolated radiological syndrome are more likely to develop the disease.

The aim of the research is to identify which patients with radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS) are more likely to develop multiple sclerosis.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the largest non-profit multiple sclerosis organization of the United States, has granted 315,000 euros to a study led by Dr. Manuel Comabella, of the Clinical Neuroimmunology Service at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, principal investigator of the Clinical Neuroimmunology group at Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and head of laboratory at the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Catalonia (Cemcat). The aim of the research is to identify which patients with radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS) are more likely to develop multiple sclerosis.

Patients with RIS present, if an MRI is performed, similar lesions to multiple sclerosis, but they are asymptomatic. As the only method of detection is an MRI, its discovery is usually accidental (patients who are tested for some other reason) and, therefore, it is very difficult to know its prevalence. RIS cannot be considered as an early version of the disease, since some affected patients will continue to be free of the illness for the rest of their lives. However, it is known that a significant proportion of those with RIS will eventually develop the disease.

The proposed study will search for risk factors using three different strategies: measuring biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid; assessing catalytic environmental factors (smoking, vitamin D exposure, childhood obesity...); and seeking genetic expressions and cellular pathways that indicate future disease progression. In total, data from more than 300 patients will be studied and followed up for four years. During this period, more than 30% of them were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In order to achieve this high number of participants, the efforts of 26 European hospitals have been combined.

The research and interpretation of the data will be done under the direction of Cemcat and Vall d'Hebron, five additional centers from Germany, Switzerland, the United States and Spain will also participate. The analysis is expected to take two years to complete.

The National MS Society, founded in 1943, dedicates more than $30 million each year to fund high-quality multiple sclerosis research projects. Dr. Comabella's study has been chosen in the Early Detection category of the Pathways to Cures project. This is not the only recognition that the National MS Society has given to Vall d'Hebron and Cemcat this year, since it has awarded Dr. Xavier Montalban, head of the Neurology Service at Vall d'Hebron, head of the Clinical Neuroimmunology research group at VHIR and director of Cemcat, with the John Dystel Award for his Multiple Sclerosis Research

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