Immune imbalance in pre-MS and MS

Dr Belinda Kaskow

Murdoch University, WA

| Causes and Prevention | Immunology | Incubator | 2022 | Investigator Led Research |


MS is an immune mediated neurological disease where the immune system inappropriately attacks the brain and spinal cord, which can lead to multiple impairments. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are responsible for controlling the immune cells, known as effector T cells, that cause these attacks. However, in MS, Tregs are unable to control these effector T cells. In addition, there is evidence that the effector T cells that attack the brain and spinal cord in MS have acquired mechanisms so that they can no longer be controlled by Tregs. Therefore, there are two levels of dysfunction; Tregs that cannot stop effector T cells, and effector T cells that resist being stopped by Tregs. This leads to uncontrolled attacks on the brain and spinal cord.

This project will investigate whether these Tregs have normal function in clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), the precursor of MS, and whether they can control the immune cells that attack the brain. This will help identify how early this immune imbalance occurs and inform us as to how MS begins, allowing us to develop strategies to prevent CIS from progressing to MS.

Updated: 16 August, 2022

Stages of the research process

Fundamental laboratory

Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 10+ years

Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.

Lab to clinic timeline: 5+ years
Clinical Studies
and Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 1-5 years


  • Dr Belinda Kaskow


Grant Awarded

  • Incubator Grant

Total Funding

  • $16,000


  • 1 year – starting 2022

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Alistair Govier-Cole

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Immune imbalance in pre-MS and MS