New treatment method for multiple sclerosis (MS)

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New procedure for the early treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS)

The University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) reports on the development of a new procedure for early treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). The treatment method developed at the UKE's Institute for Neuroimmunology and Clinical Multiple Sclerosis Research has now been successfully tested in a first clinical study. The team, led by Professor Dr. Christoph Heesen published in the renowned journal "Science Translational Medicine".

The aim of the new therapeutic approach is to switch off the disease-causing immune reactions in MS, the UKE explains in its current press release. The now examined procedure for early treatment of MS was significantly developed by Professor Dr. Roland Martin, the founder of the UKE Institute for Neuroimmunology, who has now moved to the University Hospital Zurich. The results of the first clinical study are encouraging and a phase II study should now follow to investigate the actual effect of the procedure on the course of the disease in MS, the scientists report

Normalize T cell immune response Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS) in which the so-called T cells (special immune cells) are directed against the body's own tissue. The conventional treatment is usually based on an inhibition of the immune system or the T cells. “However, the currently approved therapies only have an unspecific influence on the immune system, which means that they not only inhibit T cells, but also vital ones healthy Portions of the immune response, ”reports the UKE. Here, the new method should bring about a significant improvement, since the therapies are specifically directed only against the immune cells that trigger the disease. "The aim of the new method is to influence only those T cells that target critical target structures in the brain and spinal cord of MS patients," explained Professor Martin.

Restoring immune tolerance in MS The “target structures” damaged by MS are “protein molecules of the insulating layer of the nerves, the myelin,” according to the UKE's announcement the new treatment approach is linked to the blood cells of MS patients and re-injected. In this way, “processes should be initiated that switch off the disease-causing immune mechanisms and restore immune tolerance to one's own CNS tissue,” reports the UKE. In a phase I study funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), nine MS patients at the UKE were treated with the new method, the initial aim being "to examine the safety and tolerability of the new method," reports Professor Martin in the current UKE press release.

Promising procedure for the treatment of MS According to Professor Martin, the therapy was “well tolerated by all patients and there were no safety concerns.” The current study was the first to prove for the novel procedure that “the autoimmune reaction specifically directed against myelin peptides in patients with multiple sclerosis. "If the benefits of the therapy are confirmed in the upcoming studies," the procedure is considered a promising approach not only in the treatment of various autoimmune diseases, but also in transplantation medicine and allergic diseases, "said the conclusion in the UKE press release. (fp)

Image: Viktor Mildenberger /

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Video: Update on Multiple Sclerosis. UCLA Neurology

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