Dr Kawita Kanhai successfully defends her PhD thesis

Kawita Kanhai did her research at CHDR on 'Measuring pharmacodynamics in early clinical drug studies in multiple sclerosis'.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system, estimated to affect 2-3 million individuals worldwide. It is primarily an inflammatory disorder of the brain and spinal cord in which focal lymphocytic infiltration leads to damage of myelin (demyelination) and axons.

Current treatment of MS can be divided into disease-modifying treatments and symptomatic treatments. Although a number of disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) for the treatment of the inflammatory phase are available, the need for treating neurodegeneration and halting the progression of disability remyelinating and neuroprotective therapies is still unmet. Therefore, more drug candidates that may have the potential to enhance remyelination or positively affect the CNS are currently being studied. However, trials with potential neuroreparative or neuroregenerative agents will need appropriate biomarkers, as one of the biggest difficulties in the development of remyelination therapies for MS is the demonstration of remyelination in living patients.

The inadequacy of commonly used imaging biomarkers to quantify the process of myelin formation, and the need for a pharmacodynamic measure that could be used for studies with compounds that enhance remyelination, led us to set up and validate a more accurate method to measure (re)myelination.

To find out more, please read Kawita's thesis, or reach out to us.