Mayo Clinic researchers develop new antibody

ROCHESTER, Minnesota – Mayo Clinic researchers have validated a new antibody test to diagnose multiple sclerosis (MS), a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. Nearly one million people in the United States are affected by MS, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

An antibody usually consists of two immunoglobulin heavy chains and two light chains. There are two types of light chains: kappa and lambda. The validated test measures immunoglobulin kappa free light chains in cerebrospinal fluid. The authors conclude that the test is a valid alternative to a commonly used test for detecting oligoclonal bands in cerebrospinal fluid, according to findings published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Oligoclonal bands are proteins that indicate inflammation in the central nervous system.

“One of the advantages of measuring kappa is that it’s a much easier test to perform in the lab,” says Ruba Saadeh, a neuroimmunology researcher in the clinic’s department of laboratory medicine and pathology. Mayo and first author of the study. “Our results represent a cost saving as well as an automated alternative to the arsenal of tests used to diagnose multiple sclerosis.”

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord and can lead to permanent nerve damage and deterioration. Although its cause is unknown, the disease prompts the immune system to attack the protective covering of nerve fibers. This disrupts the signals between the brain and the spinal cord. Symptoms vary widely. These symptoms depend on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected. Symptoms can be temporary or long-lasting.

Although no cure for MS has been found, treatments can speed recovery from attacks and manage symptoms.

The diagnostic test that detects oligoclonal bands in cerebrospinal fluid requires approximately four hours of analytical processing. This test is labor intensive and involves subjective visual interpretation. The Mayo study validates a diagnostic value of 0.1 milligrams per deciliter for measuring free kappa light chains. The results of the study are comparable to the diagnostic values ​​of tests measuring oligoclonal bands.

The study analyzed serum samples from a retrospective cohort of 702 Mayo patients to determine a diagnostic value for the measurement of kappa free light chains. Samples from a prospective cohort of 657 Mayo patients were used to validate this value. Of more than 1,300 patients, 12% were diagnosed with MS.

“Measurement of free kappa light chain in cerebrospinal fluid is relatively new, and various published studies have attempted to decide what is the best medical decision point for optimal test performance,” says Maria Alice Willrich, Ph. D., pathologist at the Mayo Clinic. and the lead author of the study. “Based on the data from our study, we identified the optimal performance of the test for a large US-based population.”

The study estimates a significant cost saving for the new test. Best of all, results are available in about 20 minutes.

“Training for lab technologists can be standardized due to the automation involved in this process, and subjective visual interpretation of strips and staff involvement are greatly reduced,” says Dr. Willrich.

The study was funded in part by the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the Mayo Clinic and was supported by a grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The authors report no competing interests.

Journalists: Video of Saadeh and Dr. Willrich discussing this study is available here.

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About Mayo Clinic Procedures
Mayo Clinic Proceedings is a monthly peer-reviewed journal that publishes original articles and reviews on clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research, and clinical epidemiology. The journal, sponsored by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to physician education, has been published for 95 years and has a circulation of 127,000.

About the Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education, and research, and providing compassion, expertise, and answers to all who need healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for more Mayo Clinic news.


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