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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

MS News ALERT- McGill/JGH researchers successfully reverse multiple sclerosis in animals

New immune-suppressing treatment forces the disease into remission in mice

This release is available in French.

Published: August 11, 2009

A new experimental treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) completely reverses the devastating autoimmune disorder in mice, and might work exactly the same way in humans, say researchers at the Jewish General Hospital Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research and McGill University in Montreal.

MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune response attacks the central nervous system, almost as if the body had become allergic to itself, leading to progressive physical and cognitive disability.

The new treatment, appropriately named GIFT15, puts MS into remission by suppressing the immune response. This means it might also be effective against other autoimmune disorders like Crohn's disease, lupus and arthritis, the researchers said, and could theoretically also control immune responses in organ transplant patients. Moreover, unlike earlier immune-supppressing therapies which rely on chemical pharamaceuticals, this approach is a personalized form of cellular therapy which utilizes the body's own cells to suppress immunity in a much more targeted way.

GIFT15 was discovered by a team led by Dr. Jacques Galipeau of the JGH Lady Davis Institute and McGill's Faculty of Medicine. The results were published August 9 in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine.

GIFT15 is composed of two proteins, GSM-CSF and interleukin-15, fused together artificially in the lab. Under normal circumstances, the individual proteins usually act to stimulate the immune system, but in their fused form, the equation reverses itself.

"You know those mythical animals that have the head of an eagle and the body of a lion? They're called chimeras. In a lyrical sense, that's what we've created," said Galipeau, a world-renowned expert in cell regeneration affiliated with the Segal Cancer Centre at the Jewish General and McGill's Centre for Translational Research. "GIFT15 is a new protein hormone composed of two distinct proteins, and when they're stuck together they lead to a completely unexpected biological effect."

This effect, explained Galipeau, converts B-cells -- a common form of white blood cell normally involved in immune response -- into powerful immune-suppressive cells. Unlike their better-known cousins, T-cells, naturally-occurring immune-suppressing B-cells are almost unknown in nature and the notion of using them to control immunity is very new.

"GIFT15 can take your normal, run-of-the-mill B-cells and convert them -- in a Superman or Jekyll -Hyde sort of way -- into these super-powerful B-regulatory cells," Galipeau explained. "We can do that in a petri dish. We took normal B-cells from mice, and sprinkled GIFT15 on them, which led to this Jekyll and Hyde effect.

"And when we gave them back intravenously to mice ill with multiple sclerosis, the disease went away."

MS must be caught in its earliest stages, Galipeau cautioned, and clinical studies are needed to test the treatment's efficacy and safety in humans. No significant side-effects showed up in the mice, he said, and the treatment was fully effective with a single dose.

"It's easy to collect B-cells from a patient," he added. "It's just like donating blood. We purify them in the lab, treat them with GIFT15 in a petri dish, and give them back to the patient. That's what we did in mice, and that's what we believe we could do in people. It would be very easy to take the next step, it's just a question of finding the financial resources and partnerships to make this a reality."

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PLEASE NOTE: DR. GALIPEAU IS AVAILABLE FOR MEDIA INTERVIEWS ONLY AS OF WED., AUGUST 12.

Source : Eureka Alerts
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5 comments:

Cherie said...

It would be nice to see actualized in my lifetime but if the study is in the animal stage, it's another 7 years to 15 years before you or I could receive it unless in a clinical trial which could be stopped prematurely because it does not work on humans in the same manner it worked on mice.

Over the past 10 years or so, I've seen this same scenario played out with a "cure" in animal EAE and there is nothing in the research pipeline of those "cures" that has even made it to human testing or is nearing approval by FDA.

This is an interesting story but experience tells me I will never see it come to fruition as a medication for those with MS.

Anonymous said...

Cherie echoes my views exactly. The animal model of MS isn't MS - it is similar. And mice are not humans. Also, anything that is "immunosupressive" carries with it a high risk of cancer and making the body unable to fight off other infections. I know a woman who just had her leg amputated because she was on an immune suppressing drug for rheumatoid arthritis and a scratch on her leg became infected and her body, plus large doses of antibiotics, was unable to clear it up and gangrene set in. Don't want to put a damper on things, but we hear this stuff all the time in MS research and it usually amounts to nothing.

Jan said...

Tsk Tsk... This is how it goes in the world of research. I know that for me MS has won. But any independent research being conducted by universities, especially if it is not drug company funded (I don't know if this is or not) should be applauded. Perhaps your, or my children or grandchildren will be the beneficiaries of this or other research.

Caution is prudent, but I'll place my bets with Science.

Anonymous said...

bla bla bla.... same old same old. this country will NEVER allow a cure. it is too much of a money maker and isn't that what this country is all about....
there is a cure in Columbia. a doc. threatened by the interferon companies to have him and his family killoed if he did not stop with this cure. so now he is underground. we will never see this cure happen. sorry, but that is the way it is. wake up and smell the coffee...............

Anonymous said...

mice are not humans folks! and ms in mice is NOT same as ms in people.