MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: PPMS Treatments, Myelin Repair, the Blood-brain Barrier, Sunlight
Primary progressive MS has, in some eyes, been the stepchild of the disease-modifying therapies. PPMS patients move steadily downhill, and some believe treatments haven’t kept pace with their disease. Now, the research company Spherix has news indicating that PPMS treatments are on the upswing.
However, a closer look at the data shows that other disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are equally responsible for this increase.
It’s an early study, but it’s one more that adds to the hope that it may be possible to repair damaged myelin. If that myelin can be repaired, of course, there’s hope that central nervous system functions that are lost to MS can be restored.
Genetically modified human umbilical cord blood cells can help nerve cells recover the myelin layer necessary for normal functioning, researchers found in a preclinical study.
This finding may support the development of cell-based therapeutic approaches to help patients with spinal cord injuries or demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The study, “Influence of Genetically Modified Human Umbilical Cord Blood Mononuclear Cells on the Expression of Schwann Cell Molecular Determinants in Spinal Cord Injury,” was published in the journal Stem Cells International.
When the blood-brain barrier is damaged, certain cells and molecules can enter the brain and cause inflammation. In this small study, researchers found an unusually high amount of a specific protein in the brains of the study subjects who had MS. A study in mice found that those whose brains lacked that protein, calnexin, were completely resistant to the development of an MS-like condition. This information could lead to new treatments.
High levels of a protein called calnexin in the brain may disrupt the blood-brain barrier of patients with multiple sclerosis, a Canadian study suggests.
The finding could lead to new treatment strategies to prevent brain damage in MS.
The research, “Calnexin is necessary for T cell transmigration into the central nervous system,” was published in the journal JCI Insight.
Studies have shown that the farther you move away from the equator, the greater the chance you’ll be diagnosed with MS. Other studies have reported that maintaining a good vitamin D level in the body can have a protective effect against MS. Sunlight, of course, is a good source of vitamin D. So, it’s no surprise to me that a study is reporting that young people who spend a lot of time in the sun may reduce the risk of developing MS.
People who live in areas with medium to high levels of ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation from sunlight during their childhood and early adolescence, or in the years preceding the age of onset of multiple sclerosis (MS), have a lower risk of developing the disease, according to researchers.
The study’s findings were reported in an article titled “Sun exposure over the life course and associations with multiple sclerosis,” published in the journal Neurology.
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