OMSLife Foundation Announces new research grant – October 25, 2020

The board of directors for The OMSLife Foundation recently approved a grant for a collaborative research effort.   Dr. Tory Johnson of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Dr. Michael Wilson of UCSF are examining serum samples collected by Dr. Mark Gorman of Boston Childrens Hospital in search of a biomarker for OMS.

A recent study found antibodies against a receptor in the cerebellum, abbreviated GluD2, but this finding has not been replicated in OMS nor investigated in children with ACA.  The goal for this project is to examine blood and spinal fluid from patients with OMS and ACA for anti-GluD2, to determine if these antibodies kill specific nerve cells. The research team intends to perform a series of complementary experiments to identify anti-GluD2 and additional antibodies. If successful, the research will fundamentally change the ability to identify OMS, resulting in quicker, more accurate diagnoses and improved outcomes for affected patients.

To date, Boston Children’s Hospital has transferred OMS patient samples to Dr. Tory Johnson, affiliated with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Dr. Michael Wilson, at UCSF. Dr. Johnson’s laboratory has already examined serum samples for unique proteins that could help identify a biomarker. From this early work, the team has identified several antibodies that overlap in statistically-significant fashion, and still warrant further study. Identifying a biomarker will lead to more rapid diagnosis and treatment, improving long-term outcomes and creating meaningful impact at an individual, family and communal level.