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New Experimental Strategy to Turn Off Immune Attacks in MS Uses “Nanoparticles”

November 19, 2012

Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed an innovative strategy for selectively inhibiting the immune attack in MS. Drs. Daniel R Getts, Aaron J Martin, and Stephen D Miller (Northwestern University, Chicago) report their results in Nature Biotechnology (advance online publication, November 18).

When an immune cell dies, it releases chemicals that attract specific cells of the immune system called macrophages, which ingest the dying cell and deliver it to the spleen. Tiny portions of proteins from the dying cell are used to induce tolerance; this is a natural mechanism of the immune system to induce tolerance that somehow fails in MS. This team has developed ‘nanoparticles’ that can do the work of these proteins. Administered to mice with the MS-like disease EAE, the strategy reduced the attack on the brain and spinal cord. They are planning phase I clinical trials using this new technology.

Read more in the press release from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The research was supported by the NIH, the Myelin Repair Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Dr. Miller received funding from the Society for previous studies that led to this finding.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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