Dec 07, 2012
On Tuesday, December 4, a group of National Capital Chapter supporters and staff gathered at the Georgetown University Medical Center for a research presentation and lab tour. Dr. Cathy Conant, a researcher from the center, presented on “Matrix Metalloproteinases and Cell Adhesion in Multiple Sclerosis,” a project she is currently working on in collaboration with Kathleen Maguire-Zeiss, Ph.D. The two are attempting to pinpoint how a natural enzyme called matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) could cause nerve damage in MS.
Dr. Conant referred to MMP as a “molecular scissor,” which interferes or “cuts” cell adhesion molecules in the body. Prior research demonstrates elevated levels of MMP in people living with MS. Dr. Conant believes that the bioactive fragments that are cut away when MMP interferes with the cell adhesion molecules have a toxic effect responsible for symptoms of MS. The researchers are exploring whether or not inhibiting MMPs or preventing the bioactive fragments that are cut away from the cell adhesion molecules from binding with receptors might stop disease progression. MMP inhibitors have already undergone some clinical trials, and in one there was a 60% reduction in new lesions in animal models.
Jeff Huang, Ph.D., a recent addition to the Georgetown staff, also presented, sharing his past work in remyelination and his ideas for future research.
Donors then enjoyed lunch with the three researchers and were taken on a tour of their labs.
About National MS Society's NOW Campaign
The National MS Society supports and funds research activities spanning all research stages, including early discovery research, translational research that brings promising ideas forward into actual therapeutic solutions for testing, and clinical trials. Our unique approach drives the pursuit of all promising avenues that can impact those living with multiple sclerosis.
The NOW Campaign focuses on research to STOP MS, RESTORE the damage caused by MS, and END MS forever. Dr. Conant’s work is just one example of the research seeking to stop MS. To support the work of Dr. Conant and other National MS Society sponsored research projects, please consider giving to the NOW Campaign and help ensure that no opportunity is wasted.