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Could categorising MS patients open doors to treatment?

Could categorising MS patients open doors to treatment?
28th September 2012

Researchers in the US have identified two categories of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, hoping that it will lead to better treatments.

The team from Brigham and Women's Hospital believe that classifying patients will lead to more individual and targeted treatments.

However, the problem was that it was previously unknown how to differentiate those with the condition.

They have now managed to identify two meaningful subsets of patients. After extracting RNA (molecules involved in making the proteins related to MS), it was identified that there were distinct sets of RNA among MS patients. These form a "transcriptional signature", which determines whether a person has MSa or MSb.

Those with MSa are the most at risk group for future MS relapses; information that can help doctors make important treatment decisions.

Dr Philip De Jager, leader of the study, said: "Our study is an important step towards the goal of personalized medicine in MS, but much work remains to be done to understand under which circumstance and in combination with which other information this transcriptional signature may become useful in a clinical setting."

Read about Barchester expertise in offering multiple sclerosis support.