In an article with Cambridge News, scientist Dr. Su Metcalfe talks about her work into a potential cure for autoimmune diseases, with particular emphasis on multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Metcalfe, who is based at Cambridge University in England, is currently looking for funding to further develop her theory that using a stem cell particle called a LIF would switch off the body’s auto-immune cells and help repair the brain.
In addition to being able to switch off the body’s autoimmune response, LIF also protects the brain and spinal cord — the areas affected by multiple sclerosis — and aids in repairing tissue, including brain tissue.
The research has not been smooth sailing. Metcalfe has found that LIF cannot survive outside the cell for more than 20 minutes before being broken down by the body, making it difficult to use as a therapy. However, she has found that nanoparticles could be the answer to the problem, as they can be used to help deliver the LIF therapy. By using antibodies with the nanoparticles, the therapy can be directed to certain areas of the brain — helping to repair damage caused by multiple sclerosis.
Metcalfe is now looking for research funding and hopes that one of the big pharmaceutical companies will step in. She hopes to begin clinical trials of the therapy by 2020.
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