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Researchers Discover Potential Driver of MS Disease Progression and Test Ways to Block It

September 19, 2017

Scientists supported in part by the National MS Society have uncovered two related immune messenger proteins, and the genes that instruct them, which may be involved in driving progressive forms of MS. The proteins (macrophage migration inhibitory factor, or MIF, and D-dopachrome tautomerase, or D-DT) may increase inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. They found that the genes responsible tended to be more strongly expressed (active) in men. The study, led by researchers at Oregon Health and Sciences University and Yale University, may help explain why men tend to get more severe progression, and points to a possible target for the development of therapies to stop MS worsening. The teams are already testing compounds that may block this pathway.

The research involved people with MS and samples from the MS DNA/Bio-Repository Bank at the University of California, San Francisco, and the Rocky Mountain MS Tissue Bank, both of which are resources supported by the National MS Society. 

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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