22 July 2014

Twins help progress and diagnosis of rare Myasthenia

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Myasthenia Gravis is a rare autoimmune disease which leads to a fatigability of various muscles. Scientists know about the progress and symptoms, but not the actual cause of this disease. Now fourteen pairs of identical twins joined the EU funded medical project “Fight-MG”, to help find the cause and for a better treatment of the patients.

Fourteen pairs of identical twins joined the EU funded medical project “Fight-MG”, to fight Myasthenia Gravis. This rare autoimmune disease leads to abnormal fatigability of various skeletal muscles.

It has a variety of symptoms, including difficulty breathing, talking, climbing stairs or lifting objects. Scientists know that MG patients develop antibodies against molecules working as neuromuscular mediators, but still need to investigate the actual causes of MG.

Coordinated by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), the project links together 11 leading teams from France, Greece, Israel, Switzerland, Germany, Norway and Italy.

Genetically identical, twins are very similar. Therefore the differences found in a limited number of genes, can help scientists determine why one twin suffers from the disease whereas the other one does not.

At the time the program began, an estimated 15% of MG patients went undiagnosed, sometimes with tragic consequences. Establishing new diagnostic evaluations has been a major objective of the European scientists. This goal has been widely attained by the discovery of a new pathogenic biomarker, which will help diagnose another 5 to 10% patients. Besides they have studied new therapies, by exploring molecular and cell based therapies, which have given promising results.

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