Blood test could predict severity of multiple sclerosis
Posted Nov 17 2009 10:20pm
August 31, 2009 - advanced copy
Mark Henderson, Science Editor
A blood test that could predict the severity of multiple sclerosis (MS) is being developed by British scientists, promising to improve clinical management of the neurological disorder.
Research has identified a biological marker in blood that seems linked to patients’ prognosis after the first MS attack, paving the way for a new approach to assessing how the illness will progress. If a blood test based on the biomarker can be validated, it could be used with MRI scans and other methods to improve diagnosis.
Patients whose MS is thought likely to progress quickly could be started swiftly on therapies that can reduce the frequency and severity of attacks, while those at lower risk could be spared medication they do not need immediately. More accurate ways of assessing prognosis could also help to prepare patients for what they should expect in the future, removing the uncertainty that can be a distressing feature of the disease.