Making vitamin D work for MS

MS Researcher Dr Grant Parnell

Dr Grant Parnell

Westmead Institute for Medical Research, NSW

| Better treatments | Immunology | Project | 2020 | Investigator Led Research |


Evidence from laboratory and real life studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D is associated with MS. However, clinical trials using vitamin D supplementation as a treatment have not proven successful.

Dr Grant Parnell and his team have been looking at how the body metabolises vitamin D and have discovered that the form of vitamin D used in supplementation studies is very important. Often the form used in clinical studies relies on a two-step activation in the body, which may be sub-optimal in MS. This is caused by several genetic factors, including low amounts of activating enzyme.

In this project, the team aims to find out how to avoid these limits to response by tracking the vitamin D pathway in immune cells, and identifying the processes important in making immune cells less active. This should lead to better ways to exploit vitamin D for therapy, including providing tools to assess the success of supplementation.

Updated 22 January 2020

Updated: 21 January, 2020

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



Grant Awarded

  • Project Grant

Total Funding

  • $245,600


  • 3 years

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Making vitamin D work for MS