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Press Reports on Possible MS Cure: Research on Potential Strategy to Repair Myelin —No Human Studies Until 2020

June 12, 2017

Early studies in mice on the immune messenger protein “LIF,” leukemia inhibitory factor, have recently been covered in the press as a possible cure for multiple sclerosis. This protein shows potential for both regulating the immune response that goes awry in MS, and stimulating the repair of damaged nerve-insulating myelin. In 2015, a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh and Yale University reported these findings, noting that by using an advanced system involving tiny “nanoparticles,” they could deliver LIF to immature myelin-making cells in mice, and promote their maturation and ability to form new myelin.

Further laboratory work on this approach is necessary before it can be tested in people. Clinical trials in people with MS are not scheduled to begin before 2020, according to LIFNano Therapeutics, a company established by the University of Cambridge researchers.

“I am encouraged by these results in early phase laboratory studies,” says Bruce Bebo, Phd, Executive Vice President of Research at the National MS Society. “We look forward to seeing further studies that establish LIF as a target for strategies that can safely repair nervous system damage in people with MS.”

Read the 2015 study from this team

Read more about research to repair damage in MS

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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