Myelin repair is possible.
The search for a myelin repair therapy.
MS is caused by damage to myelin, which can lead to long-term disability in people living with the condition.
In 2005, in response to a pressing need to investigate potential treatments for MS, the MS Society set up the Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair. Two years later we set up the Edinburgh Centre for Translational Research with the aim of converting findings from the laboratory into treatments for people with the condition. Researchers at the two centres have worked closely together and results so far have exceeded expectations.
Laboratory findings offer hope.
The two teams looked at ways that the brain's own stem cells repair myelin in laboratory models of MS and in human brain tissue from MS Society Tissue Bank. The research showed that drugs can target a molecule called RXR-gamma, to encourage the brain's own stem cells to repair damaged myelin.
This discovery could lead to treatment that could halt or even reverse the disabling effects of MS and make a huge difference to the lives of people living with the condition.
The next steps towards an effective treatment.
With the help of MS Society supporters, Professor Franklin's team can continue their work, focusing on turning their discovery into a therapy that will promote myelin repair in people with MS.
This involves testing the drug that targets RXR-gamma in the laboratory alluding to, in around three years, a clinical trial to see if this drug is safe and effective in practice.
Professor Franklin says "if we can show that drugs targeting RXR-gamma can promote myelin repair in people with MS, then it should be around 10 or 15 years from a therapy. This is one of the most exciting recent developments for people living with MS."
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