Antibody Leads to Repair of Myelin Sheath in Lab Study of Multiple Sclerosis

Researchers from the famed Mayo Clinic have been able to discover that a certain type of antibody administered in a single low dose in mice has shown evidence of repairing myelin. Myelin is the protective and insulating covering of the body’s nerves which, if damaged, can lead to multiple sclerosis or other disorders of the central nervous system.

As a possible treatment for multiple sclerosis, this findings may help usher in new ways for which doctors may eventually be able to treat the said debilitating disorder. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system of the body.

It is believed to be a type of auto immune disease wherein the body’s immune system attacks certain parts of the body without recognizing it as its own. The said disease is said to affect over a million people all over the world, with twice of them being women.

The idea of using human antibodies to treat nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis has not yet been tested in humans but proves to be a promising breakthrough that may someday lead into finding an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Myelin repair usually occurs normally in the body. But for those with multiple sclerosis and other central nervous system disorders, this process occurs very slowly and might fail eventually. What researchers are trying to focus on in finding a treatment for multiple sclerosis in by finding ways on how to speed up the myelin healing process.

The antibody used in the study was genetically engineered into a single cell and binds itself to myelin as well as surface of the cells in the spinal cord and the brain. The antibodies then trigger the cells to go through a process known as remyelination. It is the antibody that induces the repair process of the cells by working within the central nervous system at the damaged sites.

Although the study successfully treated mice with a single dose of the antibody, it may someday be a model that can be followed in treating multiple sclerosis in humans. A small dose of the said antibody was needed to trigger the remyelination which peaked after five weeks on the laboratory mice.

As a natural protein found in the immune system, the antibodies seem not to carry any side effects. The antibodies are also found to be non-toxic even if given in large doses, although this finding might still need to be tested on humans.

Researchers have already produced the antibodies through genetic engineering and conducted the preliminary toxicology tests on mice as the first step in conducting clinical trials on humans in the near future.

A hopeful finding that may eventually lead to effective multiple sclerosis treatments in the future, further studies might be needed to ensure that the antibodies may indeed find themselves of valuable use in treating human patients.

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