New knowledge about treating multiple sclerosis

03 February 2014, Multiple Sclerosis

MEDIA RELEASE

New information that could lead to improved treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) has been uncovered by Victoria University of Wellington scientists. 

A study carried out at Victoria, and recently published online in the international scientific journal PLOS ONE, holds promise for patients suffering from secondary progressive MS, an advanced form of the disease, which causes nerve degeneration leading to impaired vision and coordination, and eventually, paralysis.

The study focused on understanding how a new MS drug MIS416 developed by the New Zealand biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics, is able to help patients with secondary progressive MS, a form of MS with few effective treatments.

The team of scientists includes Dr Anne La Flamme, an Associate Professor in Victoria’s School of Biological Sciences and head of the MS Research Programme at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, PhD student Madeleine White, and Dr Gill Webster from Innate Immunotherapeutics.

“We know this drug works, but we are not sure why. This study has helped us understand the pathways that are driving the disease and how the medication alters the immune system, giving us a better idea of why MIS416 works as well as insight into how to treat patients and predict who will do better on this sort of medication,” says Dr La Flamme.

Most people believe MS revolves around T cells, says Dr La Flamme, but the Victoria study reveals that targeting other cells in the central nervous system can significantly reduce advanced forms of MS.

 

For more information

Please contact Dr Anne La Flamme on 04-463 6093 or anne.laflamme@vuw.ac.nz.

 

Publication details

White M, Webster G, O'Sullivan D, Stone S, La Flamme AC (2014) Targeting innate receptors with MIS416 reshapes Th responses and suppresses CNS disease in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. PLOS ONE, Published online 31 Jan 2014.  Read the full research article here.

 

Reproduced with permission from Victoria University of Wellington Communications & Marketing. Haley Small, VUW Communications Adviser, can be contacted by emailing haley.small@vuw.ac.nz or phoning (04) 463 5105.