Quick test for MS

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Quick test for MS

Postby TwistedHelix » Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:52 am

This could be an interesting development: one of the big problems with MS has been a suspicion that the disease process begins years or even decades before symptoms show. If that is what happens, we could be missing crucial points where intervention might be possible, or which at least might give us a better understanding.
If this new test becomes commonplace it might become possible to check apparently healthy people, and therefore discover the true definition of, " the early stages":

Testing for diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis could soon be as simple as using a pregnancy testing kit.

A team led by scientists at the University of Leeds has developed a biosensor technology that uses antibodies to detect biomarkers - molecules in the human body which are often a marker for disease - much faster than current testing methods.

The technology could be used in doctors' surgeries for more accurate referral to consultants, and in hospitals for rapid diagnosis. Tests have shown that the biosensors can detect a wide range of analytes (substances being measured), including biomarkers present in prostate and ovarian cancer, stroke, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and fungal infections. The team also believes that the biosensors are versatile enough to test for diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV.

The technology was developed through a European collaboration of researchers and commercial partners in a 2.7 million Euro project called ELISHA. It features new techniques for attaching antibodies to innovative surfaces, and novel electronic measurement methods that need no reagents or labels.

ELISHA was co-ordinated by Dr Paul Millner from the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds, and managed by colleague Dr Tim Gibson. Says Dr Millner: "We believe this to be the next generation diagnostic testing. We can now detect almost any analyte faster, cheaper and more easily than the current accepted testing methodology."

Currently blood and urine are tested for disease markers using a method called ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbant Assay). Developed in the 1970s, the process takes an average of two hours to complete, is costly and can only be performed by highly trained staff.

The Leeds team are confident their new technology - which provides results in 15 minutes or less - could be developed into a small device the size of a mobile phone into which different sensor chips could be inserted, depending on the disease being tested for.

"We've designed simple instrumentation to make the biosensors easy to use and understand," says Dr Millner. "They'll work in a format similar to the glucose biosensor testing kits that diabetics currently use."

Professor Séamus Higson, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Biosciences, Cranfield Health, and one of the partners within the ELISHA programme, says: "The speed of response this technology offers will be of great benefit to early diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, and will permit testing in de-localised environments such as GP's surgeries."

A spinout company - ELISHA Systems Ltd - has been set up by Dr Gibson, commercial partners Uniscan Instruments Ltd and Technology Translators Ltd to bring the technology to market.

Says Dr Gibson: "The analytes used in our research only scratch the surface of the potential applications. We've also shown that it can be used in environmental applications, for example to test for herbicides or pesticides in water and antibiotics in milk."
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Re: Quick test for MS

Postby Lyon » Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:14 am

Last edited by Lyon on Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby RedSonja » Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:29 pm

Well, nice to know officially sooner. Now I know I have it I know I've had it - at least the symptoms tell me that - for ages.

On the other hand, how would it help?

As far as I can tell all the medications can do is treat the symptoms, so knowing you have MS before any symptoms have turned up will only make you depressed. Or have I got it wrong?
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Postby MrsGeorge » Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:53 am

although it wouldn't prevent / cure anything, a test that helps to reduce the long process of being diagnosed can only be a good thing and hopefully save people some stress!
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Postby CureOrBust » Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:31 am

maybe its because I have had this for ten years, but I notice a trend towards treatments available, being best when performed earlier in the course of the disease, before permanent damage becomes too great.
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Postby TwistedHelix » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:09 am

I think it's a much wider issue than simply, "finding out sooner": there may well be processes happening in the body in the early stages which could be completely different from what happens later, when symptoms show, and which might be stopped in their tracks. Also, as Bob has repeatedly said, we only discover we have MS once we get symptoms, and we always refer to that as, "the early stages", but it's entirely possible that things have been going wrong inside our bodies decades before that time. It could be extremely valuable to discover what is happening in the real early phase,
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