Donation makes cutting-edge research possible

29 September 2011

Sufferers of multiple sclerosis and other diseases of the nervous system will soon benefit from new research thanks to a state-of-the-art piece of equipment donated to University of Sydney researchers.

Lions International will present a cheque for US$48,000 to the Nerve Research Foundation of the University of Sydney today, allowing researchers at the Neuroinflammation Group of the Brain and Mind Research Institute to purchase an essential piece of equipment known as a 'plate reader'.

"The Neuroinflammation group focuses on research related to inflammatory diseases of the nervous system, including neuropathies and multiple sclerosis," explains Associate Professor Patricia Armati.

"These are common conditions affecting patients of all ages which cause long-term disability and severely affect their quality of life,” she said.

The plate reader can detect an array of antibodies in blood taken from patients with these diseases.

“We have identified novel autoantibodies - antibodies that attack the body’s own nervous system - in patients with particular neuropathies and multiple sclerosis which may contribute to their disease,” said Dr Emily Mathey, a postdoctoral researcher with the group.

“Detecting the brain and nervous system’s responses to these antibodies is crucial to understanding disease mechanisms, and also to provide more individual diagnoses of patients with such neurological disease.”

Professor Armati added: “Donations such as this have enabled the Nerve Research Foundation to support such research at the University for more than 25 years. This has resulted in the development of new therapies for these conditions which have greatly improved the quality of life for many patients with such disorders.”

There are 17,000 MS patients in Australia and approximately 20,000 with neuropathy. As well as this donation from Lions International, research into inflammatory diseases of the nervous system has also been funded by the NHMRC and other government agencies.

The cheque will be presented to Associate Professor Patricia Armati, Professor John Pollard and Dr Emily Mathey at the Sydney Executive Business Lions Club meeting today, Thursday 29 September.

Follow University of Sydney Media on Twitter

Media enquiries: Kath Kenny, 0478 303 173, 9351 1584,

Victoria Hollick, 0401 711 361, 9351 2579,