Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that results in functional disability and can render a person unable to write, speak or walk. Women are almost three times more likely to develop MS than men and, because the disease hits adults in their prime, it dramatically reduces their quality of life. No cure has been found and while some treatments are available to help manage the disease, these treatments are not equally effective in all MS patients.
Researchers at the Malaghan Institute are using a multipronged approach to develop more effective therapies for controlling the aberrant immune responses that occur in organ specific autoimmune disorders such as MS.
The first approach is to understand the basic biology of MS in experimental laboratory models, in order to identify potential therapeutic targets or new markers of disease progression.
In conjunction with this work is a research programme aimed at identifying and testing novel compounds that could be used to halt disease progression.
Research Associate Dr Anne La Flamme, who is a senior lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington, is responsible for overseeing the Malaghan Institute's MS research. Malaghan Institute Senior Research Group Leader Dr Jacquie Harper is also undertaking autoimmunity research as part of her greater Arthritis and Inflammation research programme.
the Great New Zealand Trek Charitable Trust Inc, the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand, New Zealand Lottery Health Research, Victoria University of Wellington, and the Wellington Medical Research Foundation for supporting our Multiple Sclerosis research programmes.