A new study has identified a possible biomarker in the blood that may help predict the severity and progression of MS. High levels of neurofilament light chain (NfL) was linked to higher disability and faster disease progression by researchers at the University of Ottawa in Canada.
NfL is a protein released by nerve cells when they are injured, and it is commonly used as a marker of nerve cell degeneration in neurodegenerative disorders. At the moment, there aren’t any established biomarkers doctors can use to ascertain the severity of a person’s MS. Measuring for NfL could potentially be a way for physicians to choose the best course of treatment for each individual patient, say researchers, as if they were able to identify people with more aggressive MS early on, they may be able to alter the path of its course, and delay or even prevent disability.
“One day, multimodal prognostic indices including clinical, MRI and serological data such as NfL may assist in the identification of high-risk patients who may benefit the most from early aggressive therapies. Conversely, patients identified as having a very good prognosis may not require treatment at all, or will choose the safest and more modestly effective treatments,” said the researchers.
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Source: MS-UK 04 August 2020