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New hope for potential MS treatment

Study sheds new light on potential to limit or reverse disability from neurological condition

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A new study has revealed a potential therapeutic target for an experimental treatment for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). 

A study from the Tisch MS Research Center of New York suggests that microglia could be a potential target for mesenchymal stem cell-derived neural progenitor cell (MSC-NP) therapy. 

MSC-NP therapy is an experimental approach to treating MS, which uses bone marrow cells that are injected into the spinal fluid of the patient, aiming to slow or reverse neurological disability in patients with MS.

“This research gives us another important layer in understanding of the efficacy of MSC-NP therapy, and potentially furthers our ability to effectively use this therapy to slow the progression of MS symptoms in patients,” said Dr.Violaine Harris, a principal investigator with the Tisch MS Research Center of New York (MSRCNY) and the study’s lead author. 

“We’re incredibly excited about this development and the opportunity it presents for us to improve regenerative treatments for MS.”

The Tisch Center’s study focused on the potential of microglia, which are innate immune cells in the brain known to contribute to the disease progression of MS, as a therapeutic target for MS. 

Investigating the influence of MSC-NPs on microglial activation, researchers found that these cells inhibited the inflammatory activation of microglia, and also increased expression of pro-regenerative markers in microglia.

Such effects were mediated by factors secreted by MSC-NPs, including possibly a secreted protein called TGF-β. 

As a result, the research concluded that MSC-NPs could promote beneficial microglial polarisation through these secreted factors.

“As the Tisch Center works toward finding the cause and the cure for MS, this research represents another important milestone in developing even more effective treatments for patients,” added Dr Saud A. Sadiq, director and chief research scientist at the Tisch MSRCNY. 

“We look forward on building on this research to even further enhance our understanding of MSC-NP therapy and its impact on patients, as well as microglia as a therapeutic target.”

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