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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Exploring new paths for the treatment of multiple sclerosis

December 1, 2015

Exploring new paths for the treatment of multiple sclerosis

(Edmonton) Research from the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry is trailblazing a potential new pathway for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). The research, published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation, examines a novel therapeutic strategy to reduce inflammation in the brain—a key contributing factor to the muscle disability associated with multiple sclerosis.

According to the researchers, most current MS treatments act on the to reduce  on the brain. The downside is that as medications get stronger, they suppress the immune system to the point where patients must cope with significant side effects. In the study, the UAlberta scientists examined an enzyme called granzyme B in cytotoxic cells as a possible therapeutic target for reducing inflammation without significantly suppressing the immune system response.
Cytotoxic cells are typically used by the body to kill virus infected cells. In the case of MS though, they are redirected against the host. The enzyme, granzyme B, acts as a weapon, damaging  and other components in the brain. In the study, researchers found that by suppressing granzyme B through a recently discovered inhibitor called serpina3n, they could significantly reduce the progression of MS symptoms in both human cells and pre-clinical models.
"We can interfere with some of the weapons these cytotoxic cells use to induce damage to the nerve cells in the brain, but without disrupting the other positive functions that these cells have," explains Fabrizio Giuliani, senior author of the study and an associate professor in the neurology division of the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. "This molecule, serpina3n, will block the damage caused by granzyme B that induces the neurodegeneration in this disease, and the neurodegeneration strongly correlates with the disability."


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