Stanford Researchers Identify Therapy Targets for MS Treatment

A team of researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine have recently identified possible therapy targets that would someday lead to a personalized approach of treating multiple sclerosis patients. The team of researchers that included Dr. Lawrence Steinman, a professor of neurology and neurological sciences also worked with researchers from the University Of Connecticut Health Center. Together, the team was able to catalog all brain tissue proteins that they found to exhibit distinct characteristics associated to the three discrete stages of multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system. It usually a condition wherein the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that acts as an insulating cover to protect nerve cells. As the myelin sheath degenerates, the insulation slowly decreases, causing the nerve cells to misfire. This results further to a number of neurological disorders that has affected over 2.5 million people all over the world.

In the said study, the team of researchers was able to encounter a number of unexpected brain tissue proteins that was involved in the progression of multiple sclerosis. The team also tested drugs that were able to block two of the identified proteins in a mouse model of the disease. It resulted in a considerable improvement in the condition of the mice.

According to Dr. Steinman, "Knowing what proteins are most important at a discrete stage of the multiple sclerosis process is the first step toward being able to ‘personalize’ treatment." The findings can then be someday applied to human patients with identifying the protein targets and then providing personalized treatments for different multiple sclerosis patients exhibiting the disease at its different discrete stages.

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