Study to explore if impaired metabolic pathways lead to MS progression

Murali Ramanathan standing beside equipment in lab.

The research is led by Murali Ramanathan, professor in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Photo: Douglas Levere

Release Date: October 7, 2020

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“Our findings can be leveraged for developing diet, lifestyle, and drug interventions for preventing progression and improving outcomes for MS patients. ”
Murali Ramanathan, professor in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

BUFFALO, N.Y. — University at Buffalo researchers have received a $957,000 grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command to explore the progression of neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis (MS).

The study will investigate whether changes in metabolic pathways (a series of chemical reactions that supply energy and provide structural building blocks for the cell) precede neurodegeneration in MS patients.

Metabolic pathways are critical for a healthy immune and central nervous system. Impaired metabolic pathways may cause irreversible damage to brain and nervous tissue.

“The project has the potential to impact MS clinical science and patient care,” says Murali Ramanathan, PhD, lead investigator and professor in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “Our findings can be leveraged for developing diet, lifestyle, and drug interventions for preventing progression and improving outcomes for MS patients.”

The researchers will examine the metabolic changes in relapsing-remitting and progressive MS patients over the course of five years and compare them to healthy individuals. They will assess serum neurofilament levels (a protein in the blood released from damaged nerves that reflects neurodegeneration), changes in gray matter volume in the brain, the accumulation of lesions and MRI measures of neurodegenerative injury.

Additional investigators include Richard Browne, PhD, professor of biotechnical and clinical laboratory sciences, and Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, professor of neurology, both in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB; and Rachael Hageman Blair, PhD, associate professor of biostatistics in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions.

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