Early Study Shows Skin Patch Can Suppress MS Immune Activity

A small and early study suggests that formulating a skin patch that contains components of myelin may aid in suppressing immune activity in people with relapsing-remitting MS. The said study was conducted by researchers at the University of Lodz in Poland, with the findings reported in the Annals of Neurology.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that involves the body’s own immune system launching attacks on the brain and the spinal cord. This condition particularly is known to target myelin, the compound that provides insulation to nerve fibers to facilitate more efficient nerve signals to and from the brain. As the myelin is damaged gradually, nerve fibers also experience decreased insulation that leads to improper neural communication that results in certain symptoms that are commonly associated with MS.

The small study involved 30 patients with relapsing-remitting MS. The participants were randomly assigned to either receive an inactive placebo patch, another patch that contains 1 mg each of proteolipid protein (PLP), myelin oligodendrocyte protein (MOG), and myelin basic protein (MBP) peptides or a mixture that contains 10mg each. The patches were applied on the right upper arm of the participants. Patches were changed once a week for a total of four weeks and then once a month for a period of 11 months.

The results suggested that the skin patch activated the dendritic cells, powerful stimulators of Tcells that are found in the skin and the lymph nodes. The dendritic cells can determine whether the T cells are either activated to attack or suppressed. The skin patch allowed a reduction of T cells that react to myelin while there was an increase in T cells that help regulate the immune responses. The researchers believe that further studies may be needed in order to determine whether this treatment approach may be safe and effective enough for treating MS.

Source: http://www.mstrust.org.uk/research/news/article.jsp?id=4384

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