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Abdelhak, Ahmed; Huss, Andre; Stahmann, Alexander; Senel, Makbule; Krumbholz, Markus; Kowarik, Markus C.; Havla, Joachim; Kuempfel, Tania; Kleiter, Ingo; Wuestinger, Isabella; Zettl, Uwe K.; Schwartz, Margit; Roesler, Romy; Friede, Tim; Ludolph, Albert C.; Ziemann, Ulf and Tumani, Hayrettin (2020): Explorative study of emerging blood biomarkers in progressive multiple sclerosis (EmBioProMS): Design of a prospective observational multicentre pilot study. In: Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, Vol. 18, 100574

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Background: Defining clinical and subclinical progression in multiple sclerosis (MS) is challenging. Patient history, expanded disability status scale (EDSS), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) all have shortcomings and may underestimate disease dynamics. Emerging serum biomarkers such as glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and neurofilament light chain (NfL) proved useful in many cross-sectional studies. However, longitudinal data on patients with progressive MS is scarce. Objectives: To assess whether the serum biomarkers GFAP and NfL might differentiate between patients with progressive vs. non-progressive disease stages and predict the disease course according to the Lublin criteria. Methods: EmBioProMS is a pilot, observational, prospective, multicentric study funded by the German Multiple Sclerosis Society (DMSG). 200 patients with MS according to the 2017 McDonald criteria and history of relapse-independent progression at any time (progressive MS, PMS), younger than 65 years, and with EDSS 6.5 will be recruited in 6 centres in Germany. At baseline, month 6, and 18, medical history, EDSS, Nine-Hole-Peg-Test (9-HPT), Timed-25-Foot-Walk-Test (T-25FW), Symbol-Digit-Modalities-Test (SDMT), serum GFAP, and NfL, MRI (at least baseline and month 18) and optional optical coherence tomography (OCT) will be performed. Disease progression before and during the study is defined by confirmed EDSS progression, increase by 20% in 9-HPT or T-25FW time. Conclusions: This longitudinal multicentre study will reveal to what extent the prediction of disease progression in patients with PMS will be improved by the analysis of serum biomarkers in conjunction with routine clinical data and neuroimaging measures.

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