MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Older Patients, Stem Cells, Myelin, B-cells vs. T-cells
This tops my list this week because, at age 69, I certainly fit the definition of an “older” MS patient. The study is hoping to enroll 300 MS patients in the U.S. who are 55 or older, and who haven’t had a relapse or an MRI change in the past five years while on a DMD.
A clinical study now enrolling people with progressive or relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) will examine the feasibility of older patients stopping use of disease-modifying therapies if they have had no relapses for a number of years.
John Corboy, with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, presented the study at the 7th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Meeting in Paris, along with an explanation of why he believes older MS patients could quit treatment.
This is one of those reports where the research is only in a very early stage. But it’ll be very exciting if what they’ve been able to with rats can be extended to humans. (And, our friends, the stem cells, are taking center stage in this potential MS treatment).
Researchers, using two different kinds of stem cells in rats, were able to regenerate oligodendrocytes — myelin-producing brain cells that are defective in multiple sclerosis (MS). They were also able to grow adult neural stem cells (NSCs, immature cells of the nervous system) in laboratory cultures and prod them to develop into oligodendrocytes.
The study, titled “Human mesenchymal factors induce rat hippocampal- and human neural stem cell dependent oligodendrogenesis,” was published in the journal Glia.
Here’s another study involving remyelination. In this case, it involves an experimental drug named GNbAC1 and the results suggest that treatment with its highest dose promoted remyelination in a part of the brain.
GeNeuro‘s humanized antibody GNbAC1 promotes the rejuvenation of the myelin coating that protects nerve cells in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, or RRMS, a Phase 2 clinical trial shows.
The treatment is also safe, the study showed.
Does talk about B-cells and T-cells leave you confused? Those cells are in the crosshairs of some of our newest Disease Modifying Therapies, such as Ocrevus and Lemtrada, but which is better to attack and how best to do it? At the MSParis conference there was an opportunity to hear from two experts on the same platform. Said one, “B-cells and T-cells are inseparable allies — they cannot exist apart — and in MS, they are partners in crime. But B-cells are the ringleader.” Click on this story to judge for yourself.
One particular session on Day 2 of the four-day 7th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Meeting — which drew 10,000 researchers, doctors, industry representatives, and patient advocates to hear about advances in multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment and understanding — attracted so much interest that all seats were taken in the huge lecture hall and late-comers had to claim spots along the walls.
This event was the Burning Debate session, called “Rumble in the jungle: B cells vs. T cells” — an allusion to the historical boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in 1974.
At ECTRIMS, the duel pitted two world authorities on MS, with distinct views on the importance of T-cells and B-cells in the disease, against one another.
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