Esteemed neuroscientist at La Trobe University, Dr Jacqueline Orian, has been awarded a significant grant from MS Research Australia, to better understand the cause of nerve loss in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients.
Dr Orian will receive $240,000 to delve deeper into the role blood particles, known as ‘platelets’, might play in causing symptoms of MS, including inflammation and nerve damage.
Co-investigators on the project are Professor Karlheinz Peter and Associate Professor Xiaowei Wang, both from the Baker Institute.
Dr Orian said better understanding the key role of platelets might help lead to therapies for a chronic disease that affects 2.8 million people worldwide.
“We suspect that targeting platelets in early disease onset will slow down nerve loss in MS patients,” Dr Orian said.
“If we can prove this, it could lead to the development of new platelet-targeting strategies that delay the progression of the disease.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to receive this grant and hope it will ultimately help people living with MS to lead a healthy, active life for longer,” Dr Orian said.
La Trobe Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) Professor Ashley Franks said the grant demonstrates the depth of research expertise at La Trobe.
“As a University, one of our key research goals is to ensure a healthy, safe and equitable life course for everyone,” Professor Franks said.
“Dr Orian’s cutting-edge research is contributing significantly to us achieving that goal, and it’s wonderful to see that acknowledged through this significant funding by MS Research Australia.”
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease involving the central nervous system, whereby the immune system attacks the protective layer around nerve fibres.