Dr Stephanie Shepheard
The York Family Research Companion PhD Scholarship (2011-2013)
Flinders University, SA
“p75NTR as a biomarker for disease progression in the Motor Neuron Disease mouse model SOD1 G93A”
Researchers monitored the levels of a protein called “p75NTRECD” in people’s urine and found three things:
- Levels of ‘p7’ were significantly higher in the urine of people with MND compared to healthy individuals, meaning we can use this to detect whether someones has MND;
- Levels of ‘p7’ in urine increase as disease gets worse, which allows doctors to know what stage of the disease a person is experiencing; and
- Levels of ‘p7’ decreased in mice when they were given certain treatments, meaning this test can also be used to monitor how well a patient is responding to MND treatments.
This research is significant because most other MND studies look at cerebrospinal fluid and blood to monitor the disease and the collection of cerebrospinal fluid and blood can be very painful and difficult for people with MND who are physically disabled.
In contrast, urine is easy and painless to collect, and holds wonderful opportunities for the future.
Supervisors: Dr Mary-Louise Rogers & Dr Tim Chataway