New Mouse Studies May Provide New Therapeutic Targets to Stop MS -- Much research needed to translat - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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New Mouse Studies May Provide New Therapeutic Targets to Stop MS -- Much research needed to translate to human MS

April 26, 2011

Two new studies published in the journal Nature Immunology suggest they have identified a mechanism necessary for prompting immune attacks in MS-like disease in mice. The two teams – led by Dr. Burkhard Becher (University of Zurich, whose science career was launched by a training grant and a prestigious Harry Weaver Neuroscience Award from the National MS Society, and Dr. Abdolmohamad Rostami (Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia), whose work is funded by the National MS Society, NIH and other agencies – report findings relating to a messenger chemical called GM-CSF (granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor). Although much research is needed to translate these findings into results that will help people, they raise hope that this mechanism may serve as a good therapeutic target to test in clinical trials.

Read abstracts of Dr. Becher’s and Dr. Rostami’s studies, published online on April 24, 2011

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Another study recently published in the journal Nature by a team led by Dr. Thomas Burris (Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter, Florida), funded in part by the National MS Society, NIH and other funders, describes the ability of a new class of synthetic compound to specifically interfere with immune activity to suppress MS-like disease in mice. The investigators note that this new compound, called SR1001, and related ones, may have potential to be developed for MS, other autoimmune diseases and even metabolic disorders. Again, much research is needed to translate these basic findings into potential therapies that can be tested in people.

Read the journal abstract, published online April 17, 2011

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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