The Myelin Repair Foundation is pleased to announce the promising results of an MS-treatment clinical trial based on the research of an MRF Investigator, Dr. Stephen Miller at Northwestern University.
Multiple Sclerosis is a condition where the immune system attacks and does damage to the myelin, the protective coating of the nerves. This damage causes, among other things, numbness, fatigue, immobility and sometimes blindness.
There are a number of FDA approved disease modifying drugs that slow the progression of MS however they also decrease the effectiveness of the entire immune system leaving the patient open to other diseases.
“Most therapies for autoimmune diseases employ approaches broadly called immunosuppressors – they knock down immune response without specificity,” Stephen Miller, professor of microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com
“People can become highly susceptible to everyday infections and develop higher rates of cancer.”
Discover Magazine explained, “The treatment approach in trials now instead “retrains” patients’ immune systems to tolerate myelin. Previous studies in mice have shown that delivering pieces of the myelin protein to the bloodstream can desensitize the immune system to myelin and slow degeneration.”
Integrative doctors from all over the world have joined forces to study this new approach. Nine patients were tested in hopes of teaching the immune system to stop the myelin attack.
USAToday said, “Stephen Miller, the Northwestern microbiologist who led the research and has been refining this approach at building immune tolerance for 30 years, said he is pleased with the results of the preliminary study and eager to try it in more patients.
Discover Magazine said, “Today, in the first human study of the approach, researchers in Germany, Switzerland and Chicago report similar promise in people. Researchers took blood from nine individuals with MS and separated out just the white blood cells. They chemically fused pieces of myelin protein to the cells’ surfaces and then gave each patient an injection of their own modified cells.”
This method provided a way for ms patients to receive myelin antigens into the body in a way that encouraged a tolerance for the myelin.
“For a Phase 1 trial, which is geared toward measuring safety, this is probably the best (result) we could hope for,” said Miller, who collaborated with researchers from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany. “Our method is safe to use in MS patients – it doesn’t exacerbate the disease.”
The next step is a phase 2 clinical trial in which a test will be conducted to discover whether the treatment can prevent the progression of MS in patients. At this time Miller doesn’t have financial support from a drug company or foundation to continue research to the next, crucial stage.
I am not the only one in the MS community who is very excited to hear the results of such a test! If you’re interested in contributing to the Myelin Repair Foundation click here.