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Scarlet & Gray MS Research News
New study shows it might be possible to reverse cell damage in patients with multiple sclerosis 5/11/17
Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience damage to the myelin sheath, the material that surrounds and protects nerve cells. This damage slows down or blocks messages between the brain and body, leading to the symptoms of MS. It has long been believed this damage is permanent and irreversible. New research suggests that it might be possible to reverse some of this damage by targeting the brain cells that produce myelin, called oligodendrocytes. Researchers at McGill University in Canada studied brain tissue from MS patients and found that myelin was altered but the oligodendrocytes were still intact for a period of time. In cell cultures they found that the changes in oligodendrocytes were reversible and associated with the metabolism of the cells. The authors concluded that in the beginning of the MS damage there is a window of opportunity, to protect the oligodendrocytes.
Jaime Imitola, MD, an Ohio State MS neurologist and director of the Progressive MS Clinic, says the results are encouraging. Dr. Imitola investigates how to repair the brain of MS patients and how to develop new medications based on stem cells technology.
“What this means for our patients is that in the future we might be able to offer medications that protect the oligodendrocytes, repairing or reversing damage before that window of opportunity closes,” he said.
This paper was published online in Annals of Neurology.
Ohio State MS Experts in the News
Dr. Racke discusses the "Beat MS" stem cell transplantation trial with Dr. Kantor from MS World during the recent CMSC meeting. Stem cell transplants may be a treatment option for patients who have progressive MS.
Dr. Prakash, associate professor of clinical psychology, speaks with Jennifer Pizzuto from MS World about mindfulness meditation training for MS patients.
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