Elvin A Kabat (1914-2000)

Throughout the 20th century, research has continued to map the precise pathophysiology of MS, with investigative methods becoming ever more sophisticated as technology has advanced.

During the 1940s (14), Dr Elvin Kabat was investigating the immunological response seen in all MS patients. Based at the Department of Neurology, Columbia University, USA, Kabat used the recently developed technique of electrophoresis to study samples from MS patients.

Kabat compared the electrophoretic pattern of proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum from controls and MS patients and found that the CSF from MS patients contained an increased proportion of gamma globulins (14). The slide reproduces the electrophoretic patterns found by Kabat (14), with the increased gamma globulin visible in the MS sample.

Kabat's key finding confirmed an immunological component in MS, a concept first postulated in the late 19th century. Subsequent research has tried to understand why the immune system generates this inappropriate response and potential treatments have focused on trying to suppress the immunological activity which leads to demyelination.

==> Derek Denny-Brown (1901-1981)

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