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Innsbruck researchers identify new biomarkers in MS

Innsbruck researchers identify new biomarkers in MS

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Innsbruck – A promising discovery at the Medical University of Innsbruck: A treatment tailored to multiple sclerosis (MS) could come in handy. The university announced in a Tuesday broadcast that MedUni’s neurologists have now identified a new biomarker as part of an observational study that makes such a treatment more likely.

Neuroimmunologist Harald Haegen.

© Martin Vandoori

“The new biomarker has the added benefit of already identified risk factors and brings us one step closer to individualized treatment for MS,” explained neuroimmunologist Harald Heegen. She added that it has so far been difficult to reliably predict how long the infected will remain free from the onset of the disease or the time of the next attack.

“In order to weigh the benefits and risks of different immunotherapies in individual cases, it is necessary to set up an individual diagnosis,” says Heegen. Now, along with colleagues from Vienna and Graz, they have succeeded in finding a protein that can be detected in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the so-called κ-free light chain (κ-FLC, kappa free light chain), as an independent biomarker for early diagnosis that identifies multiple sclerosis. The new knowledge has already been published in the specialized journal Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation.

In the Innsbruck study, 88 patients were included at the time of the first clinical event – eg, myelitis or optic neuritis. The median age was 33 years, two-thirds of whom were women. The participants were then followed for more than four years. It turns out that patients with a high κ-FLC index (>100) have a fourfold increased risk of developing a more severe course of the disease.

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The median time to a second flare was only eleven months, while in patients with a low index (100 or less), a second flare occurred on average only after 36 months. “Even taking into account known predictive factors such as age, gender, MRI lesion load and activity, the κ-FLC index has proven to be an independent marker by which patients with elevated disease activity can be identified early and thus directed to the treatment that is appropriate for them. ‘,” neuroimmunologist Heegen stressed the high media value of the study. (Ma,