Medicine knows no limits, especially not its own. Gerhard Kocher
Research to create a world free of multiple sclerosis continues to move forward! More researchers than ever before are investigating the cause and damage of MS with the goal of reversing disease symptoms and ending MS forever.
Multiple sclerosis is understood to be an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. This means a person’s own immune system attacks his/her brain and spinal cord. The nervous system is composed of nerve cells which send signals to each other via electrical messages. These signals are responsible for everything we do as humans, from movement to our higher consciousness.
The nerve cells are wrapped in an insulating material known as myelin sheath. Myelin sheath improves the conductance of the nervous system, much like rubber improves the conductance of copper wire. In MS, the immune system attacks and destroys the myelin sheath, causing difficulties with coordination, balance, and movement; fatigue; acute or chronic pain syndromes; and bladder and bowel difficulties.
In the Buckeye Chapter, unprecedented advances with emphases on brain imaging and communication between cells have been targeted by many of these investigators. Improved imaging of the brain allows for better diagnostic techniques, resulting in earlier treatment options. Research showing early treatment options may be most beneficial for slowing the progression of MS emerged last year.
Additionally, research helping us better understand how cells communicate may lead to new therapeutics. Cells use particular proteins called cytokines to communicate and direct each other in order to initiate and prolong the immune attack on the myelin sheath in the central nervous system. Cytokines present an ideal therapeutic target because controlling their concentrations may cause cells to lose the ability to attack the myelin. For this reason and their undoubted role in MS pathogenesis, cytokines have been the focus for several recent studies.
Intriguing Leads on the Horizon - Exciting leads and clinical trials researchers are pursuing.
How Far We've Come - History and timeline of progress, and how the Society has helped propel these advances.