McGill University, Canada: T-cell activation molecules

T-cell activation molecules and progressive MS

Principal Investigator: David Haegert, M.D.
Institution: McGill University
Country: Canada
Amount Awarded: €74,739

Early in the course of MS it is difficult to know whose disease will progress and whose will not. This team proposes to identify and test potential biomarkers – molecular signatures – in the blood to determine if they can be used to predict whether someone with MS will show rapid or slow disease progression. They will test blood samples from people with MS who participated in clinical trials in the past, and whose course of disease progression is known. If the biomarker is indeed increased in people with rapidly progressing MS and not in those whose MS is more benign, this biomarker could be developed as a test to predict disease progression and identify people who need more aggressive treatment.

What does this mean for people living with progressive MS?

Finding a biomarker that can be tested in blood samples of people with MS could help predict the rate of disease progression and help determine the most appropriate therapy.


Project Update

Status: Extended

The team hypothesized that rapid accumulation of disability and rapid MS progression are a closely related processes and that our biomarker signature will identify not only people with rapid progression from  relapsing-remitting MS to secondary progressive MS, but also people with relapsing-remitting MS that have rapid vs. slow accumulation of disability. The team studied several patient subgroups including people with MS who had rapid MS progression vs. slow MS progression, and subgroups with relapsing-remitting MS who had rapid vs. slow accumulation of disability during their relapsing-remitting MS phase of disease. The team plans to isolate peripheral blood mononuclear cells from selected people in each subgroup and compare expression of their biomarker signature. They are also planning experiments that will test whether there are biological differences  between people in the defined secondary progressive MS and relapsing-remitting MS subgroups.


Principal Investigator David G. Haegert

David G HaegertDr. David G. Haegert earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and his medical degree from the University of British Columbia. He completed his internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, and his residency training in Anatomic Pathology in the McGill University teaching hospitals. He received post-doctoral training in Immunology at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England. Dr. Haegert is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Anatomic Pathology. He now conducts research focusing on multiple sclerosis and possible biomarkers that predict rates of disease progression in multiple sclerosis and responses to therapy.

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