Scientists have blocked harmful immune cells from entering the brain in mice with a condition similar to multiple sclerosis (MS).
According to researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, this is important because MS is believed to be caused by misdirected immune cells that enter the brain and damage myelin, an insulating material on the branches of neurons that conduct nerve impulses.
New insights into how the brain regulates immune cell entry made the accomplishment possible. Washington University scientists had borrowed an anti-cancer drug in development by the company ChemoCentryx simply to test their theories.
“The results were so dramatic that we ended up producing early evidence that this compound might be helpful as a drug for MS,” says Robyn Klein, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology and immunology, of medicine and of neurobiology. “The harmful immune cells were unable to gain access to the brain tissue, and the mice that received the highest dosage were protected from disease.”
ChemoCentryx is now testing the drug in Phase I safety trials. The study is published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine. ...
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