Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA) is a rare form of dementia that progressively effects either balance or movement, or sometimes both. It is related to Parkinson’s disease as the same protein clumps (of a protein called α-synuclein) form in the brain in both conditions.

We are searching for proteins in whole blood samples, known as biomarkers, that will allow us to identify people with the disease; differentiate between this and other forms of dementia; possibly identify sufferers earlier so that that they could be treated earlier, hence slowing progress of the disease; be used in drug trials to show a reduction in biomarker level to demonstrate a new drug is working. So far, we have identified several proteins that have raised levels in blood in patient samples when compared to samples from people without the disease and are looking to test more samples to confirm that this can be a robust test for MSA.

This work is funded by the ManxMSA Trust and Jurby Wellness and is done in partnership with CynapseDx.