8th September 2020

Research published in the September 8, 2020, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, reports the International Progressive MS Alliance expert panel’s initial conclusions and recommendations regarding the use of serum neurofilament light chain (sNfL) as a biomarker in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). The publication will help advance the Alliance goal of accelerating new treatments for people with progressive MS.

Neurofilaments are structural proteins found within neuronal cells of the central nervous system. sNfL is a component of neurofilaments that is released following axonal damage and neuronal degeneration. This type of tissue damage occurs in MS, as well as in brain injuries and other neurodegenerative diseases. sNfL can be detected and measured in the blood stream. If sNfL is further confirmed as a biomarker for progressive MS, a blood test could help predict the future course of disease and indicate whether a treatment is working.

The paper notes that sNfL is a plausible marker for measuring neurodegeneration accurately, sensitively and reproducibly, but standard procedures for blood sample collection and assay methods need to be established. Further challenges must be overcome to understand differences in sNfL in active inflammation in MS (i.e., relapse) versus disease progression. Data is also needed to understand the effects of age and comorbidities on sNfL levels.

The International Progressive MS Alliance is engaged with regulatory bodies regarding the use of sNfL measurement in clinical trials and is also convening MS scientific experts to address the challenges noted above.

The Alliance panel of experts developing the paper and recommendations includes Raju Kapoor, FRCP; Kathryn E Smith, MS; Mark Allegretta, PhD; Douglas L Arnold, MD; William Carroll, MB BS, MD; Manuel Comabella, MD, PhD; Roberto Furlan, MD; Christopher Harp, PhD; Jens Kuhle, MD; David Leppert, MD; Tatiana Plavina, PhD; Finn Sellebjerg, MD, PhD; Caroline Sincock, PhD; Charlotte E. Teunissen, PhD; Ilir Topalli, PhD; Florian von Raison, MD; Elizabeth Walker, PhD; and Robert J Fox, MD.  Robert Fox and Kathy Smith served as leads for the group.

For more information, please contact Graham McReynolds, International Progressive MS Alliance [email protected]

Progressive MS Alliance

8th September 2020