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Researchers Report Findings on Antibody That Stimulates Myelin Repair
October 12, 2007
Researchers funded in part by the National MS Society report that an antibody can stimulate repair of myelin in mice with MS-like disease. Myelin is the insulating coating on nerve fibers that is attacked and damaged during the course of MS. They also report that the antibody, called rHIgM22, remains effective in mice when combined with methylprednisolone, a corticosteroid used to treat relapses in people with MS. Moses Rodriguez, MD, and Art Warrington, PhD (Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN) presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association in Washington, DC, this week (Abstract #T-109).
Although the body naturally repairs some damage to myelin that occurs in MS, this repair is insufficient. One strategy under study encourages internal "repair" capabilities by immune-system proteins called antibodies. Dr. Rodriguez and colleagues have identified human antibodies that target and attach to cells in the brain and spinal cord that make myelin (oligodendrocytes), and have found a way to produce these antibodies in the lab. With funding from National MS Society research grants, including a Collaborative MS Research Center Award, Dr. Rodriguez assembled a team of investigators to explore this therapeutic opportunity further.
The Mayo team tested the repair strategy in a mouse model with chronic, progressive disease similar to MS. The mice received a single dose of different amounts of the antibody. Myelin repair occurred at a low dose (23 mcg) and stabilized after five weeks. When combined with daily methylprednisolone, which is used to treat MS attacks in people, the antibody still promoted repair and the mice did not worsen.
Although these findings warrant confirmation in further animal and human studies, the results take us one step further in efforts to stimulate myelin repair in people with MS.Read moreabout Dr. Rodriguez’s Center Award, and 13 others nationwide, talented teams who are exploring novel ways to move us closer to a world free of MS.
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