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MS - Top 5 MS News Topics of 2012

By Daryl H. Bryant (543 words)
Posted in Living with MS on January 4, 2013

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MS - Top 5 MS News Topics of 2012

Among the many breakthroughs in medicine in recent years, researchers came face-to-face with cellular and chemical activities that provide more information concerning Multiple Sclerosis development. Armed with knowledge gained from studies, physicians now have new avenues upon which to travel in search of treatments and possible cures for the debilitating illness.

Scientists Discover Possible MS Cause

Researchers from the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease at the University of California San Francisco recently found a possible trigger for the nerve damage that occurs in Multiple Sclerosis. While observing tissue samples in mice afflicted with MS, scientists observed that when the clotting protein fibrinogen passes across the blood-brain barrier, microglia cells initiate an immune response. By altering fibrinogen, the substance retains blood-clotting properties but does not elicit a microglia reaction.

Retraining T-Cells May Lead to MS Treatment

When cells die, they emit chemical signals that may or may not cause an immune response. Research physicians used this information to alter the behavior of white blood cells known as T-lymphocytes. These cells bear responsibility for autoimmune responses that include attacking pancreatic cells in type I diabetes. Scientists attached a pancreatic protein to red blood cells, which die in large quantities every 120 days without causing alarm. When the red blood cells died, they emitted the pancreatic protein and the normal signal that signifies an uneventful death. After receiving the altered signal, T-cells ceased attacking pancreatic cells, which ended diabetic symptoms in laboratory test subjects.

Combining Two Medications Creates New MS Treatment

Professor Gunter Fischer and Dr. Frank Striggow from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases combined approved medications Cyclosporine and tacrolimus via a chemical link. Physicians commonly prescribe either of the two medications after organ transplant surgery. The formulations reduce the body’s immune system response and minimize the likelihood of tissue rejection. Testing the new formulation revealed that the medication offered greater protection against immunity attacks but created fewer side effects.

Clues to Myelin Repair Failure

Dutch physicians from the Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz recently announced coming a little closer to understanding the when and why myelin does or does not form. The lipid rich substance contains two dominant proteins that require strategic regulation for successful myelin formation. DNA converts to mRNA, which serves as the building block for myelin basic protein or MBP. If at this time, a molecule called sncRNA715 attaches to MBP, myelin production fails. Altering levels of this molecule causes an inverse reaction that encourages myelin formation.

Molecular Testing Leads to Early MS Diagnosis

While examining spinal fluid for inflammation provides an accurate diagnosis 90 to 95 percent of the time in MS patients, the DioGenix Inc Company in Gaithersburg, Maryland developed an even more precise test. The test entails evaluating B-cells contained within spinal fluid for genetic fingerprints that appear as abnormalities specifically associated with the disease. This testing process eliminates confusion with other disease processes because of biological similarities. Researchers are also developing a blood test that uses the same technology.

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