Using data from 66 patients followed for up to 20 years, researchers developed a mathematical model to simulate the biological processes involved in the disease of multiple sclerosis, a chronic autoimmune disease leading to damage to nerve fibers in the brain with variable clinical presentation rates and symptoms and leading to blurred vision, memory problems, weakness, and more.
Using data from a second group of 120 patients with multiple sclerosis, they validated the model to predict different disease courses seen in these patients with the same underlying biological process, a concept which has profound implications for therapeutic development.
Although previously multiple sclerosis may be viewed as two or more diseases given its multiple clinical presentations, this mathematical model suggests that it is a single disease with a common underlying pathological process.
Kotelnikova E, Kiani NA, Abad E, et al. Dynamics and heterogeneity of brain damage in multiple sclerosis. PLoS Comput Biol. 2017;13:e1005757. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005757.