Findings Settle Debate On Two Conflicting Approaches To MS Treatment

Finding effective treatments for multiple sclerosis is an ongoing endeavor as a cure still eludes doctors as well as scientists. And it won’t possibly help if there are researchers who believe in conflicting approaches to treating MS. True enough, due to the unknown points regarding the said disease, researchers sometimes find themselves having to find different therapeutic approaches to MS. There are certain debates regarding some conflicting approaches and which may prove to be effective.

But according to recent findings made by researchers at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, a definitive conclusion has been reached regarding two conflicting interventional approaches to treating MS. According to a study made by Harley Tse, PhD., associate professor of immunology and microbiology at WSU’s School of Medicine, targeting the white blood cells of the body’s immune system known as T cells provided the most effective approach to blocking the animal model of MS called experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

T cells are normally used by the immune system to attack foreign substances that might cause harm to the body. But there are instances where the T cells may attack some healthy cells and tissues in the body. In the case of multiple sclerosis, the T cells may begin attacking the protective layer of nerve cells in the central nervous system known as the myelin sheath. Damage to the myelin may cause the nerve cells to affect signal transmission from the brain to the other organs in the body and back. Some symptoms associated with this condition include, fatigue, tremors, memory loss and other problems.

There was a debate that came up as scientists began to develop possible treatments for the disease. It centered on the appropriate approach to treat the relapsing remitting form of MS. Some scientists found that T cells involved in each relapse were different and were directed against different myelin proteins. Some scientists on the other hand can’t seem to find some support to this in their own studies. There was a need to resolve the issue regarding these two rather different therapeutic approaches.

In order to settle the issue, Dr. Tse developed a special mouse strain that enables him to tag the disease causing T cells. He further observed that when the marked T cells were eliminated after a relapse, subsequent relapses did not occur. “Elimination of marked donor T cells could be done after development of the second or the third relapse episodes and each time, no further relapses occurred,” according to Tse.

“This work is significant because for the first time we are able to definitively establish a cause-and-effect relationship linking the marked T cells to the development of relapses and show unambiguously that it was the same T cells that mediated relapsing cycles. Targeting such disease-causing T cells in MS is definitely a valid therapeutic approach that should be pursued,” Dr. Tse further added.


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