Using genetics to predict who will respond to beta-interferon

Image shows a DNA strand

Professor Alastair Compston

University of Cambridge


About the project

Beta-interferon is a disease modifying drug (DMD) used to reduce the number of relapses that people with relapsing remitting MS experience. Some people respond well to beta-interferon, some people do not respond well, and others experience bad reactions to the drug.

This three year project will identify genes that help determine whether someone responds well to beta-interferon treatment. Professor Compston’s team will analyse blood samples from:

  • 100 people who respond well
  • 100 people who don’t respond well
  • 50 people who have experienced a bad reaction to beta-interferon

They will analyse participants’ genes to see if there is any way to predict who is likely to respond well to treatment.

How will it help people with MS?

We currently have no way of knowing whether somebody is likely to respond well to beta-interferon. We hope this research will eventually help people with MS and their doctors make more informed decisions about their treatment options.

The difference you can make

By supporting MS research you could help save people from months or even years of ineffective treatment and side effects.

The next research breakthrough is in reach

Your donation will help stop MS.

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    Our minimum donation is £2, please enter a different amount.

£30could process one blood sample, giving researchers crucial information about genes and the immune system.

£50could pay for an hour on a microscope, so scientists can study cells and tissue in greater detail and improve their understanding of the biology of MS.

£100could pay for half an hour of MRI use, so researchers can monitor the success of clinical trials and understand MS in more detail.

Every penny you give really does take us a step closer to stopping MS. Your donation will make a difference.

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    Our minimum donation is £2, please enter a different amount.

£10a month could pay for lab equipment like microscope slides to study the building blocks of MS

£20a month could pay for lab equipment like petri dishes to grow bacteria important for studying genetics

£30a month could process a blood sample to help us understand what causes MS, so we can stop it in its tracks

Your regular donation means we can keep funding world class MS research with confidence. Together we will stop MS.

MS researcher at work in lab, using a pipette