Doctors say preliminary results have been encouraging
Scientists at Nottingham's Queens Medical Centre have been given a financial boost to extend research into multiple sclerosis.
The grant of almost £130,000 will allow them to carry out tests on patients using a new scanner, which could lead to earlier diagnosis of the condition.
This could then help patients to have access to treatment much faster and help improve their quality of life.
The money has been awarded by the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Multiple sclerosis - a condition of the central nervous system - affects about 100,000 people in the UK.
It is most often diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 40, and women are almost twice as likely to develop it as men.
The cause is not known and a cure has yet to be identified.
Dr Nikos Evangelou, consultant neurologist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We have strong MS research capacity already in Nottingham, and this new project will complement this.
"The results of the study are likely to have a major impact on the diagnosis of MS.
"Our preliminary results have been extremely encouraging, highlighting the value of the initial grant.
"Many lines of evidence suggest that early diagnosis and early treatment is likely to result in improved long term outcomes with reduced disability, and in turn reduced costs to the NHS and society.