I just returned from a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, sponsored by IQuity, Inc., the biotech company that has cracked the code on a simple blood test for diagnosing MS. Let that sink in for a minute. A simple blood test to determine whether or not you have Multiple Sclerosis. If you are currently diagnosed with MS – you most likely went through a fun little test called the Lumbar Puncture (a.k.a., Spinal Tap) which was nerve-racking, uncomfortable at the very least and still didn’t yield a diagnosis without the other components of blood tests, MRIs, evoked potential testing, EMR tests, and everything else that comes with a disease that is diagnosed through exclusion rather than definitive disease-specific testing. AND – you probably had to wait a long time – in some cases months and years – for a diagnosis. Well – those days may well be behind us.
The CEO of IQuity, Chase Spurlock, has his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Vanderbilt University and is a research instructor there as well. And he’s scary smart. And he’s really nice. And he’s young. Bet you were envisioning an older dude with gray hair and fuzzy eyebrows, right? Me too. Nope. He’s a young guy with a ton of energy and brain-power. Exactly what we need on our side!
He and his team of researchers found an RNA blood test, which looks at markers and algorithms and has a GREATER THAN 90 PERCENT accuracy rate in detecting likely MS!!! WHAT?!?! Remember that lumbar puncture? That test is looking for the presence of oligoclonal banding in your spinal fluid and it isn’t that accurate. In fact, it’s estimated that 5-10% of people with MS never show signs in their spinal fluid. Give me a quick, easy blood test over an LP any day! Oh – and btw – the blood test (a.k.a., Isolate MS) can provide test results – and answers – within one week – 7 days. WHAT?!?!? That’s what I’m talking about!
The One-Day Information Download for MS Bloggers
IQuity gathered the best of the best of the MS blogging world – and me! I was incredibly honored to be included in this bunch of well-established and highly-regarded influencers. We were provided a wonderful educational opportunity that included presentations by MS docs, a neuro PT and IQuity themselves. We all were grateful for the opportunity to learn that they provided us. AND – bonus – we all got to meet each other share insights – and introduce our audiences to each other. Here’s a link to the Facebook Live that we did together. You get a chance to see the faces behind the blogs!! #MSBlogSquad.
Here are the cast of characters:
Caroline Craven (www.GirlWithMS.com),
Dave Bexfield (www.activemsers.blogspot.com)
Kim Standard (www.StuffCouldAlwaysBeWorse.blogspot.com),
Cat Stappas (www.ItsOnlyABruise.com),
Beth Prystowsky (www.ModernDayMS.com),
Stephanie Buxhoeveden (www.JustKeepSmyelin.com),
Matt Cavallo (www.MattCavallo.com),
Dan and Jennifer Digmann (www.DanandJenniferDigmann.com),
Laura Kolaczkowski (www.insidemystory.com)
and ME!! 😉
And Now The Downside
You knew there’d be one, right? Yeah well – not surprisingly – it’s a lack of insurance coverage. It’s a new test – and the insurance companies here in the states – need a bit more time and perhaps enthusiasm to put it on their coveted formularies. That’s where you come in. I know most of you already have a diagnosis, but let’s do this for the folks behind us that have yet to be diagnosed. And honestly – there is benefit for the previously diagnosed as well: they’re looking into being able to see how medication is working for us – quickly and easily – as opposed to our current plan of attack. That being wait and see. Check the MRI in 6 months. Do more blood tests, etc. Let’s help by getting the word out – talking to our neuros in particular – but really anyone in our medial sphere of influence – and tell them about this test. There is a lack of knowledge about this test so – docs aren’t currently ordering it. The more docs know about it and start requesting it, the faster track it will be on for insurance coverage. So please – talk to your docs about it. Tell them to look it up. Send them to this article. Whatever. Just get it out there. What a true gift this could be to our community. Cutting the diagnosis timeframe and increasing the accuracy rate! WOW. Game changer. People can get started earlier on treatment and you know that’s a goal. It’s just another way to say “FUMS”!!