New research to stop Multiple Sclerosis

LANSING, MI. (WILX) - Dr. Rany Aburashed at Memorial Healthcare in Owosso is conducting new research to potentially stop the progression of Multiple Sclerosis.

A woman who witnessed the struggles of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in a family member is now battling the disease herself, however, a new treatment is giving her hope. (Source WILX)

Dr. Rany and his team are using neurofilament light, which is the foundation to the blood, to track the progression of the disease and the effectiveness of treatments.

Neurofilament light are the proteins that act as the foundation to the blood.

He can look at those proteins and tell how aggressive a patients multiple sclerosis is.

Multiple Sclerosis can affect each person differently.

Some may have a more aggressive disease while others will only see minor symptoms.

Because people can vary in their disease, it’s difficult for doctors to pinpoint how aggressive someone’s disease actually is.

Dr. Rany said because it’s hard to diagnose the kind of multiple sclerosis a patient has, it makes it even more difficult to find the right medication to treat it.

When talking about prescribing treatment Dr. Rany said, “Often times we will wait to see how a patient does [on medication] and sometimes that’s a mistake because the patient will have an attack that causes a severe worsening and then we're kind of chasing the disease from behind. So the more we can really focus on the disease when someone is still healthy, and working, and doing well and get them on therapy; the better chance we have a stopping it long term."

Dr. Rany’s research will use patients’ blood samples to look at their neurophilament light.

He said, “Neurofilement levels can be elevated 6 years before a patient ever feels a symptom. So there’s damage occurring at the foundational level for a number of years. Our hope is to assess whether we're stopping that foundational damage or controlling it, and if we're not, we're looking at changes to make that number lower.

The autoimmune disease causes connection problems between the brain and the rest of the body, experts said.

Those with MS can experience numbness, electric-shock sensations, lack of coordination or balance, loss of vision, and fatigue.

According to Dr. Rany, there is a steady progression of symptoms in patients, although it varies per person, it can eventually cause mobility problems and paralysis.

MS typically affects people between the ages of 16 and 55, according to experts.

Dr. Rany treats 26-year-old Samantha Pelt for multiple sclerosis.

Pelt said shes had the disease since 2017 and notice she couldn’t balance as easily as she used to and her eye started twitching.

Multiple Sclerosis runs in Pelt’s family.

Her grandmother had it for over 30 years and she lost her ability to walk because of the disease.

Pelt said, “My grandfather had to carry her from the bed, the couch, the dinner table and growing up that’s all we knew.”

When Pelt found out she had the disease she wasn’t hopeful at first.

“I was like 'oh great this is my life. It’s only a matter of time before it starts to take over my body,’” said Pelt.

Pelt says once she started treatment with Dr. Rany her disease has come to a stop.

She doesn’t notice her symptoms getting worse and she’s hopeful Dr. Rany’s research will help other MS patients.

She says this might be a small step in finding a cure for the disease.

Dr Rany said, “When you see a 25-year-old woman who has her whole life in front of her you want to know you're giving her every chance and really looking at it in a very scrutinized way to give her the best chance possible for a normal life."

Dr. Rany recently broke ground on a new $30 million neurology facility at Memorial Healthcare which will be responsible for continuing this research as well as caring for more patients with neurological issues.

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