New MS Target for Treatment Known

A research team composed of an international group of scientists led by those from the Centre Hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal (CHUM) has identified new therapeutic targets for the possible treatment of multiple sclerosis. The research can provide fresh answers to questions involving the role of novel adhesion molecules in the pathogenesis of the said debilitating chronic disease of the nervous system.

The research was conducted by Dr. Alexandre Prat, a CHUM neurologist and researcher and a professor at the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Medicine, along with collaborators from McGill University, Dr. S. David, Dr. N. Arbour from the University of Montreal, Dr. D. Stanimirovic of the National Research Council of Canada and Dr. B. Becher of the University of Zurich. The team found that the adhesion molecule known as ALCAM for Activated Leukocyte Cell Adhesion Molecule, otherwise known as CD166, plays a major role in the movement of certain types of leukocytes to the brain.

The researchers believe that the molecule, which is produced by the endothelial cells of the brain, becomes a novel target that helps restrict migration of immune cells to the brain. This can further help dampen neuro-inflammation and decreasing the lesions on the brain that is characteristic of multiple sclerosis. Being able to understand the molecular processes of brain inflammation is important to the development of new treatments for MS.

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