Early diagnosis is important because it leads to early treatment. Our IsolateMS test can significantly close the gap between a diagnosis of CIS and MS.

The path to diagnosis isn’t typically quick or easy for the more than 15,000 patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) each year. The stress of uncertainty while waiting on test results, plus hours logged at medical offices, takes its toll on patients, as well as their circle of family and friends. The stress can also make MS symptoms worse.

For many MS patients, their journey toward a definitive diagnosis starts with clinically isolated syndrome, or CIS. This major clinical precursor to MS can symptomatically mimic MS. CIS is a neurological episode caused by demyelination, in which there is scarring or damage to the myelin sheath – the protective material that surrounds the nerve cells in the central nervous system. Damage to the myelin sheath interferes with nerve impulses that travel from the brain to control bodily functions. A patient who experiences CIS may never have another episode, or it may lead to a diagnosis of MS.

Until now, it’s been difficult to identify those patients who will progress to MS using conventional diagnostic methods. Patients with CIS have a 60-80 percent chance of developing MS over the long term, according to the National MS Society. When no lesions are found on an MRI, the risk drops to 20 percent.

A definitive MS diagnosis can take months to years. What if we could drastically reduce this time? When taken at the earliest onset of symptoms, our IsolateMS test gives physicians actionable information at the earliest sign of symptoms, which they can use to determine a diagnosis. Providers can then begin treatment to slow the progression of the disease.

To validate our IsolateMS test, our study included blood samples of people who had been diagnosed with CIS months or years before a clinically definite MS diagnosis. Our MS test results were accurate in an overwhelming majority of cases — 50 out of 52 CIS to MS samples. These findings highlighted what we already believed to be true. If the IsolateMS test would have been available when these patients were first diagnosed with CIS, it could have saved them months to years of waiting — a period filled with stressful rounds of testing, unexplained illness, irreversible damage and escalating medical bills.

Early diagnosis is important because it leads to early treatment. Our IsolateMS test can significantly close the gap between a diagnosis of CIS and MS. Not only is the test remarkably quick, it is very reliable — with an accuracy rate of more than 90 percent. This dramatically increases the possibility of MS patients living productive and healthier lives.

Watch as I explain the process behind our study of CIS blood samples.