My opinion: I think the most important part about this discovery is that the earlier diagnosis leads to earlier treatment, which would actually slow the disease down. What I'm wondering is if biological markers, such as MeDAS, aren't studied or produced enough. All the hype seems to be around treatment. Though obviously this is extremely important, too, perhaps early diagnosis is even better in some scenarios. I've heard stories of certain diseases that, early on, were quite treatable, but because they were not examined by a doctor, they eventually became too difficult to cure. So should more research be focused on diagnostic techniques rather than direct treatment? Feel free to comment.
School of Medicine breakthrough offers first direct measurement of spinal cord myelin in MS
Real-time imaging technique provides essential molecular picture of protective nerve sheathResearchers have made a major breakthrough, developing a first-of-its-kind imaging tool to examine myelin damage in multiple sclerosis (MS). An extremely difficult disease to diagnose, the tool will help physicians diagnose patients earlier, monitor the disease’s progression and evaluate therapy efficacy.
School of Medicine scientists have developed a novel molecular probe detectable by positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. The new molecular marker, MeDAS, offers the first non-invasive visualization of myelin integrity of the entire spinal cord at the same time, as published in an article in the Annals of Neurology.
“While MS originates in the immune system, the damage occurs to the myelin structure of the central nervous system. Our discovery brings new hope to clinicians who may be able to make an accurate diagnosis and prognosis in as little as a few hours compared to months or even years,” said Yanming Wang, senior author of study and associate professor of radiology. “Because of its shape and size, it is particularly difficult to directly detect myelin damage in the spinal cord; this is the first time we have been able to image its function at the molecular level.”