Marisa Wexler, MS, senior science writer —

Marisa holds a Master of Science in cellular and molecular pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. Her areas of expertise include cancer biology, immunology, and genetics, and she has worked as a science writing and communications intern for the Genetics Society of America.

Articles by Marisa Wexler

New 3D Brain Map May Help in Disease Management: Study

A team of researchers has created a three-dimensional (3D) map of the lymphatic vessels that drain the brain, and demonstrated that these vessels are organized similarly in mice and in humans. The researchers propose measuring these vessels using MRI scans could “allow longitudinal imaging of disease progression that may be…

Stem Cell Transplant Found to Reduce MS Relapses, Ease Disability

Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (aHSCT), a procedure that aims to “reset” the immune system, generally reduces disability and relapse rates in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new meta-analysis. “Current data encourage a broader application of AHSCT for treating patients with MS while still considering…

Ocrevus Outperforms Rebif in Preventing Myelin Loss in Trial

Two years of treatment with Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) outperformed Rebif (interferon beta-1a) at preventing myelin loss in people with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new analysis of data from the OPERA II clinical trial. Ocrevus’ protection against demyelination was observed both in MS lesions,…

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Boosts Motor Learning in Mouse Model

Providing electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve, a large nerve that plays important roles in modulating nonconscious bodily processes like digestion and heart rate, can improve motor learning in mice, a new study shows. The approach specifically helped the animals learn motor tasks faster and achieve better performance levels in…

No Link Between MS Severity, Vitamin D-related Mutations: Study

A number of genetic variations related to vitamin D metabolism were not significantly associated with the severity of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a recent study. The study, “Role of Multiple Vitamin D-Related Polymorphisms in Multiple Sclerosis Severity: Preliminary Findings,” was published in Genes. In MS, the body’s immune…

Review Gives ‘Cautious Support’ to Childhood Trauma as MS Risk Factor

Most available studies suggest a connection between childhood trauma and multiple sclerosis (MS), from earlier symptom onset to potentially poorer outcomes, but more research is needed to understand this association, a review paper highlights. While several high-quality studies have been published, the scientists noted “considerable heterogeneity [variability] in methodology, including inconsistencies…

Heart Medication Digoxin Helps With Remyelination in Early Study

Digoxin, an approved medication for certain heart conditions, promoted the repair of myelin — the protective sheath around nerve fibers that is progressively lost in multiple sclerosis — in mouse models of the disease, a study reports. Combining digoxin with an experimental immune-modulating therapy was more effective at promoting myelin…

Natalizumab, Tysabri Biosimilar, Up for Approval in Europe

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has agreed to review a request to approve Polpharma Biologics‘ biosimilar natalizumab for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). This marks the first time the regulatory agency accepted a marketing authorization application for a biosimilar of Tysabri, an approved MS treatment. “The acceptance…

EMBOLD Study of ATA188 in Progressive MS Is Given Go-ahead

An independent committee of experts has recommended that the Phase 2 portion of the EMBOLD clinical trial continue as planned without a sample size adjustment, following an analysis of safety and effectiveness data. The trial is testing Atara Biotherapeutics‘ experimental medication ATA188 in progressive forms of multiple…

Researchers Distinguish Remyelinated Brain Lesions Via MRI

An MRI technique called quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) can be used to accurately identify remyelinated brain lesions in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a research team has discovered. Remyelinated lesions are those in which the myelin sheath — the protective coating around nerve fibers that is progressively lost…

Proteins Called Tenascins Found to Block Myelin Repair in Mouse Model

Proteins called tenascins block the regeneration of myelin by modulating the activity of oligodendrocytes, myelin-making cells of the central nervous system, a study in mouse models indicates. “Our research results open up new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis,” Juliane Bauch, a researcher at Ruhr-University…

T-cells in Bone Marrow Work to Drive Inflammatory MS Attacks

Unusual growth in an immune cell class called myeloid cells is evident in the bone marrow of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), and these cells likely contribute to the inflammation that drives the disease, according to a new study. Experiments in mice suggest that myelin-reactive T-cells can migrate to the bone…

Vidofludimus Calcium Safely Reduced RRMS Brain Lesions

Treatment with the experimental immune-modulating therapy vidofludimus calcium reduced disease activity on MRI scans in adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), data from the Phase 2 EMPhASIS clinical trial shows. Top-line results from EMPhASIS were reported by the therapy’s developer Immunic Therapeutics in 2020. Researchers at…

2nd SPMS Patient Sees Clinical Gains With Foralumab Treatment

Treatment with foralumab nasal spray resulted in marked clinical improvements after three months in the second secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) patient treated under a single-patient access program. The findings were generally consistent with those seen in the first SPMS patient and supported a decision by the U.S. Food…

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