Stephen D. Miller, PhD
Dr. Miller, who has researched autoimmune diseases for more than 30 years, hopes to launch a Phase 1 trial of a tolerance-directed immunotherapy delivered via poly (D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLG) nanoparticles within the next year to year and a half. Last year, he and colleagues at Northwestern and in Hamburg, Germany published the results of a 9-patient study which found that a tolerance-directed immunotherapy for MS was safe and reduced the patients’ immune systems’ reactivity to myelin by 50 to 75 percent. However, that study employed a sophisticated method for extracting patients’ white blood cells (WBCs), processing them to deliver myelin antigens into the patients’ bodies in a way that would help develop tolerance for the antigens, and then re-infusing the WBCs. Dr. Miller’s planned Phase 1 study, for which he is securing funding, would avoid the complicated extraction/re-infusion process by delivering antigens via biodegradable nanoparticle. In a murine study reported in 2012, Dr. Miller and colleagues found that polymer nanoparticles were an effective vehicle for delivering antigens in a way that prompted the immune system to stop attacking myelin. That approach halted a model of relapsing-remitting MS in mice.
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