The potential of a biomarker for more effective diagnosis and treatment of people with multiple sclerosis will be probed in research led by prominent WA neurologist, Professor Allan Kermode.  

Professor Kermode is head of Demyelinating Diseases Research at the Perron Institute,Professor of Neurology at The University of Western Australia and Adjunct Professor of Neuroimmunology at Murdoch University.   

A $50,000 St John of God Foundation Seed Funding grant will be applied to this study of neurofilament light chain measures for management of MS.  

Neurofilament light chains are proteins released into the body following damage to the central nervous system. They are a known biomarker for this disease in which the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibres.  

“By measuring these neurofilament proteins, we may be able to capture the extent of central nervous system damage caused by multiple sclerosis,” Professor Kermode said.  

“Over 2.5 million people globally live with this potentially debilitating disease. It is difficult to predict and currently cannot be prevented.  

“This research is something we can do here in Western Australia that we anticipate can inform our clinical decision making and assessment of this chronic, inflammatory disease.  

“By accelerating assessment of response and progress, we hope that the neurofilament research will help people worldwide living with neurological conditions. 

The research will be in collaboration with researchers from the Perth-based Perron Institute, a world-leading neurological research institute. The team will include Clinical Professor William (Bill) Carroll AM, a consultant neurologist and eminent multiple sclerosis researcher at the Institute, and Dr Marzena Fabis-Pedrini, a Senior Research Fellow and MS Research Coordinator in the Demyelinating Diseases Research at the Institute. 

“We are delighted and grateful that the St John of God Foundation has been able to support us to make this vital research possible,” Professor Kermode said. 

The St John of God Foundation is the philanthropic arm of St John of God Health Care. The Foundation is committed to advancing health care in our communities through personalised patient treatment and leading medical research, including through the provision of the St John of God Foundation Research Grants. 

Read St John of God’s article here.