An assay now commercially available throughout most of the country utilizes validated MS biomarkers to predict disease progression. Glycominds’ gMS™ Dx test for MS measures the level of anti-glycan antibodies in the blood. The test was developed following research findings suggesting that people with higher levels of specific anti-glycan antibodies either have MS or are likely to have more active MS leading towards higher EDSS scores despite treatment with standard first line drug therapies.
There are two uses for the gMS Dx test, according to Glycominds, a molecular diagnostics company: The single marker diagnosis test lets physicians identify a person with clinically isolated syndrome who will likely convert to clinically definite MS. This marker is very specific (meaning the likelihood of a false positive result is very low, in some studies it is 100 percent specific), but will only pick up about 40 to 50 percent of people with MS. Therefore it can be used to "rule in" MS but cannot be used to "rule out" MS.
The second test looks at four markers and identifies people who are significantly more likely to progress at least one EDSS score within five years despite treatment. These people can be candidates for more aggressive therapy or just very careful monitoring and switching therapy at the first time there is a clinical event when on therapy.
Ben Thrower, M.D., MSF’s senior medical advisor, acknowledges the role of biomarkers and tests such as the gMS Dx in diagnosing and treating MS: “This blood test has been shown to be more common in people with MS as compared to other neurological conditions. So far the test does not appear to be sensitive enough to be used alone to diagnose MS, but could be used to help confirm the diagnosis. A negative blood test would not absolutely rule out MS,” he says. “In people presenting with their first MS relapse, high levels of the antibody were associated with less time until their next attack and a higher likelihood of progression of disability.”
Any medical professional (doctor, qualified physician assistant, qualified nurse practitioner) can order the test just like any other diagnostic test they order. The test is provided at no cost to the person being tested, as Glycominds has committed to waiving deductibles and co-pays from insurance companies—except for those on Medicaid or Medicare. Those cases will be billed the standard co-pay for a blood test.
For more information go to www.glycominds.com.