The Department of Biomedicine

BBB Seminar: Frode S. Berven

Biomarker discovery in multiple sclerosis patients

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Frode S. Berven
Proteomics Unit in Bergen (PROBE), Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, with an insidious and variable clinical course. The cause of MS is unknown and the disease mechanism is to a large degree not understood. It is very difficult to diagnose the disease at an early stage using current laboratory tests, and the diagnosis is often delayed by several years. This again leads to delayed treatment, which is a huge drawback for the affected patients considering that axonal damage and other pathological events start early and lead to irreversible damage, and that most treatments are only effective in the early phase of the disease. Due to the high variability in the disease development, it is also very difficult to predict the course of the disease and to choose the best treatment strategy. Norway is a high-risk region for MS with an incidence of 6-8 new patients/105 inhabitants/year. We have undertaken a project aiming at using state-of-the-art proteomics methodology to discover novel MS-specific biomarkers that can be used for earlier detection of the disease compared to what is possible with current laboratory tests. Follow-up data from these patients could also reveal prognostic value of such biomarker candidates. In addition, such a study will reveal more information about the disease mechanism of MS. The proteomics techniques we have used involve semi-quantitative analysis of the low molecular cerebrospinal fluid proteome, the glycoproteome, and global shotgun proteomics with and without chemical labelling (iTRAQ). Our experience from this large-scale biomarker discovery project and our preliminary results will be presented.

Chair: Stein Ove Døskeland, Department of Biomedicine