Neurone Disease (MND) Association and the Medical
Research Council (MRC), along with researchers from
the University of Oxford,
have joined forces to conduct the Oxford
Study for Biomarkers in
MND/ALS (BioMOx). This resulted in the identification of a common
signature of nerve damage in patients who have MND.
Martin Turner and his team from the University of Oxford have
discovered a "unique similarity" between nerve damage found
in the region of the brain which connects the motor neurones to the
brain, and nerve damage found in the corpus callosum, which is a
region of the brain that acts as a connection between the right and
now, patients with MND have had to wait too long for a
diagnosis of MND because MND research was hindered by the
lack of predictable markers, or biomarkers, of the progression of the
disease. Researchers also lacked an early diagnostic test. With the
use of an MND biomarker, MND patients can be diagnosed more quickly
and accurately, which is the main goal of the BioMOx study.
BioMOx study is one of the largest biomarker studies for MND in the
world," said Dr. Brian Dickie, director of research development
at the MND Association. "It's very encouraging to hear the first
exciting results emerging from this four-year initiative."
this particular study, researchers scanned healthy
brains as well as brains that contained MND damage using an
advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique. Every six
months, researchers for the BioMOx study followed changes in the
brain, in blood and in spinal cord fluid of people with MND. By
scanning and comparing specific areas of the brain, Turner and his
team were able to find a pattern of nerve damage within MND patients,
which has led to the discovery of a MND biomarker.
finding of a common pattern of nerve pathway damage in a varied group
of MND patients holds the promise of a much needed biomarker,"
said Turner. "This study confirms the ability of advanced MRI
techniques to sensitively detect nerve damage in a wide
range of people living with MND. It builds on a decade of
international work, and shows that MRI is now a frontrunner in the
quest to generate biomarkers of disease activity in MND."
hope to use what they've discovered in the BioMOx study to develop
improved treatments for patients with MND.
scanning provides an exciting 'window on the brain,'
allowing researchers to link the changes occurring in the central
nervous system with the 'real world' symptoms of MND," said
Dickie. "Understanding these changing events is going to be
central to the development of future treatments."