Funds raised by Kiss Goodbye to MS go towards funding ongoing research into multiple sclerosis. In 2015, MS Research Australia funded 52 research projects around Australia, and in 2016 we are funding 47 projects. Here is a snapshot of just four of these projects.
Dr Fabienne Brilot-Turville
Kids Research Institute Westmead, NSW
One of the most common MS symptoms is visual disturbances due to an attack on the optic nerve, known as optic neuritis. Dr Brilot-Turville and her team have found an antibody in the blood of people with optic neuritis, which affects the insulating myelin layer around the optic nerve. They will conduct a nationwide study of people at serious risk of blindness due to optic neuritis, identifying those who have the antibody working to determine its role in the disease process. This in turn will lead to better treatment options to save the vision of these people.
Associate Professor Ingrid van der Mei
Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania
There are currently no treatments available for people with Primary Progressive MS (PPMS), and our understanding of the risk factors for this type of MS is limited. Associate Professor Ingrid van der Mei’s project is exploring whether PPMS is predicted by the same environmental risk factors associated with relapsing-remitting MS, or whether PPMS is associated with a unique set of risk factors.
This project will help to improve not only our understanding of the causes and mechanisms of PPMS, but will also help improve prognosis in people currently living with PPMS.
Dr Heidi Beadnall
Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, NSW
Dr Beadnall is investigating the use of MRI scans to track brain tissue loss in people with MS. Loss of brain tissue appears to be an accurate marker of disease progression in MS, but is not routinely used in clinical practice. Dr Beadnall’s project aims to overcome barriers to tracking brain volume in routine practice to measure the effectiveness of MS treatments, assist with prognosis, and guide therapeutic decisions.
Dr Jerome Staal
University of Melbourne, VIC
Dr Jerome Staal’s research looks at how the electrical activity of a nerve can influence myelin growth and development. His early work has shown that more active nerves helped to generate better quality myelin. Dr Staal’s work aims to increase our understanding of the factors influencing myelin growth, which could lead to new avenues for promoting myelin repair and regeneration in MS.