GIFT15 is an experimental treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). It is composed of two proteins fused together — granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GSM-CSF) and interleukin-15 (IL-15). Alone, each component stimulates innate and adaptive immunity. Fused together, they suppress it.

The potential of this treatment in humans has only begun to be considered, but GIFT15 has completely reversed experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) in laboratory mice. It was developed by researchers at the Jewish General Hospital Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research and McGill University in Montreal.

Allergic encephalitis evolution in mice is similar to MS in humans. For the study, the researchers took B-cells from the EAE mice, purified them, put them in a petri dish, and then sprinkled the B-cells with GIFT15. When they injected the B-cells back into the sick mice, the disease disappeared — T-cells were blocked, inflammation in the spinal cord stopped, and the mice recovered within four weeks of treatment.

Scientists believe that the success of fusing the pharmacological properties of GSM-CSF and IL-15 introduce a promising strategy for generating other cellular pharmaceuticals into treatments for MS and other autoimmune diseases. Mixing biologically active proteins in an unnatural manner may be a strategy that confuses the natural path of disease. Additionally, because the strategy employs the patient’s own cells, the treatment would likely not bring about an immune response leading to rejection.

Clinical studies are still needed to test GIFT15 safety and effectiveness in humans.

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