Detecting the fingerprints of MS for Improved Diagnosis
MS is a complex disease that produces a wide spectrum of symptoms that can make it difficult to distinguish from other autoimmune and neurological diseases. Discovery MS is applying a multi-omic approach to many of our research projects, allowing us to develop highly comprehensive molecular profiles of the disease of unprecedented depth and breadth. By developing multi-omic profiles of MS, we hope to improve diagnostic methods and deepen our understanding of how MS starts and progresses.
Unlocking the puzzles of MS origin and progression for improved prevention and treatment
If we understand how MS begins and how it progresses, we can develop strategies for prevention and for slowing or stopping progression. The only measures clinicians have for an MS drug’s effectiveness is damage to the central nervous system (CNS), either as lesions on an MRI or new symptoms. We hope to develop blood-based tests that can indicate whether a drug is working before significant damage occurs.
What is –omics research?
In the biological sciences, when a topic of study includes the totality of something it often ends in “ome.” For example, the total collection of metabolites (the products of metabolism) in the human body is called the metabolome. The fields that study these “ome” topics end in “omics.” Metabolomics is the study of the metabolome. Genomics is the study of the genome, and proteomics the proteome. ‘Omics research is able to capture a big picture, comprehensive snapshot of the body’s functioning. It also requires cutting-edge technologies and sophisticated statistics to analyze such large datasets. We are combining multi-omic studies to develop profiles of MS of unprecedented depth and breadth.
MURDOCK MS Studies
Much of the research Discovery MS conducts is in partnership with the MURDOCK Study, Duke University’s Clinical & Translational Science Institute’s longitudinal health study of the population of Kannapolis, North Carolina and neighboring communities. The MURDOCK Study keeps a Community Registry of self-reported health information and a biorepository of blood and urine samples from over 12,000 community members. Our primary investigator (PI) Dr. Simon Gregory, is PI on two MURDOCK MS-focused sub-studies: a broad MS study and a serial Primary-Progressive MS study. Our research would not be possible without this study and the support of their doctors, scientists, staff and, most importantly, participants. Learn more about the MURDOCK Study.