UBC scientists and Vancouver Coastal Health have proven multiple sclerosis can be caused by a single genetic mutation. The rare alteration in DNA makes it likely a person will develop the more devastating form of the neurological disease.
Canada Research Chair — Carles Vilarino-Guell — says the discovery greatly benefits MS research.
“That will provide us with a wider window to start tackling the disease even before the presence of clinical symptoms are evident.”
He says this could help search for therapies that could counteract the mutation’s disease-causing effects.
“The finding is important for the clinical diagnostics, it’s important for the development of tools and new treatments, which hopefully will help a lot of patients.”
The study says the discovery helps confirm that some forms of MS are inherited.
Although only one in 1,000 MS patients appears to have this mutation, the discovery can show what leads to the rapidly progressive form of the disease.