Skip to navigation Skip to content

Research on the Immune System

Understanding and stopping MS in its tracks requires a better understanding of the role that the immune system plays in the inflammatory attacks on myelin and, very possibly, in the injury to axons (the wire-like nerve fibers) that contributes to longer-term disability.

Share

In this article

Research on immune activity in MS

Understanding and stopping MS in its tracks requires a better understanding of the role that the immune system plays in this disease. This system is involved both in the inflammatory attacks on myelin and, very possibly, in the injury to axons (the wire-like nerve fibers) that contributes to longer-term disability. Research on the immune system includes studies on:
  • Understanding components of the immune system such as T cells, B cells, and antibodies
  • Identifying new targets for therapeutic intervention while leaving the rest of the immune system capable of fighting infections
  • Identifying substances and processes involved in the injury of axons
  • Identifying the body’s natural immune messenger molecules that can either turn on or turn off immune attacks
Much has been learned about immune system activity in the relapsing-remitting phase of MS and this knowledge has led to the development of effective disease-modifying therapies. Less understood is the relationship between initial immune activity and progressive neurodegeneration and how innate immunity participates in the progressive phase of MS. 

We’re making progress

Studies of the immune system in MS laid the groundwork for every disease-modifying therapy now available, and these studies continue to hold promise for finding ways to stop MS. Here are reports of recent progress:

Researchers co-funded by the National MS Society reported that immune cells reactive to specific gut bacteria travel from the gut to the brain during MS relapses, where they may play a protective role by reducing inflammation. 

The team that helped to drive development of MS therapies that target immune B cells – such as Ocrevus® (ocrelizumab, Genentech) – reported new findings on how these cells might be activated, a finding that could enable a new generation of more targeted B cell therapies.

An international team reported that myelin damage results in a shortfall in the ability of axons (nerve cell fibers) to produce energy, and that targeting this process with treatment can protect axons from damage. This study identifies a new approach that may protect nerve cells from harm to stop or prevent MS progression.

Share


The National MS Society is Here to Help

Need More Information?

We Are Here

Our MS Navigators help identify solutions and provide access to the resources you are looking for. Call 1-800-344-4867 or contact us online.

Contact Us

Contact Us
Newly Diagnosed
If you or somone close to you has recently been diagnosed, access our MS information and resources.

Start Here

Start Here
© 2021 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.