A recent study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine could yield a promising new treatment option for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). In a person with MS, the body starts to attack myelin, the protein that insulates the body’s spinal cord, brain and optic nerves. The results can be numb limbs, paralysis and occasionally blindness.
In the study, researchers were able to limit the body’s attacks on myelin by 50 to 75 percent, while maintaining the rest of the immune system’s functionality in a phase one clinical trial of the new treatment.
Current MS treatments try to diminish the body’s autoimmune response to myelin, and, as a result, the effectiveness of the entire immune system declines.
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“Most therapies for autoimmune diseases knock down immune response without specificity,” study co-author Stephen Miller, professor of microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com.
In the study, a small group of patients suffering from MS were infused with their own white blood cells, which were engineered to carry billions of myelin antigens, in hopes that the cells would teach the body to stop attacking the myelin.
Researchers were happy to find out the treatment based on 30 years of previous research could safely be applied in humans, and didn’t appear to hinder the larger immune system. Although researchers warn that the study was too small to draw any major conclusions, they are optimistic of the treatment’s ability to help stop the progression of MS and the results of larger trials using the therapy in the future.
Until a solid cure for MS is established, many people are choosing to live full lives despite their MS diagnosis. Here’s a mom doing just that!