Friday, August 17, 2007

Research Breakthroughs

Recent medical breakthroughs show promise for improved MS identification and treatments.
1) Vaccine:
Researchers in Canada have developed a new DNA vaccine,BHT-3009, that has been successful in causing a reduction in the size and number of brain lesions. It reduced the T cells that normally target myelin proteins (in MS, the action of losing myelin around nerve fibers causes brain lesions and inflammation). It was tested at four sites in North America and found to be safe, so more testing is planned.
2) Bad Genes:
Two genes were identified that are related to regulating T cells and seem to increase the risk of developing MS. The genes CD25 and CD127 encode the interleukin receptors 7 and 2, which regulate the activation of immune cells.
3) Missing Gene: A cellular marker has been identified for a group of protective immune cells called suppressor cells that curb inflammation occurring in the central nervous system. MS patients don’t have enough of these suppressor cells.
4) Sinister protein:
The alphaB-crystallin protein is normally found in the lens of the eye, but appears in the brain when nerve cells that have been injured by multiple sclerosis. In mice, this protein seems to serve a protective function. Researchers are now looking more closely at this protein’s functions.
5) Right Hand doesn’t know what the Left Hand is Doing:
Researches at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore found that there are separate networks controlling each leg and there are also separate networks controlling leg movements, e.g., forward or backward walking. This is impacting therapy and treatments for patients with mobility problems.

3 comments:

  1. Nice synopsis! Much easier to sort through than all the lengthy articles about the stuff...LOL

    How are YOU doing these days?

    Linda D. in Seattle

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  2. wow...this does look hopeful! i really do think some exciting research and findings will be right around the corner. i have been meaning to comment here for weeks now. i will be more consistent with comments from now on. i hope you are doing well this weekend!

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  3. Thanks to both of you! -Joan

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