Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mayo Discovery Repairs Myelin in Multiple Sclerosis

news you may not knowHmm - It's A Tough Call...

What's your pleasure - modern medicine or miracles? Yes, at times it seems to devolve into a debate of exclusionary realms. But, when brilliant researchers are touched by a bit of grace, we sometimes find that medicine and miracles go hand-in-hand.

Mayo Clinic announced today they have developed an antibody capable of repairing damaged myelin - in mice. Trials with human subjects will need to be conducted. Still, this is fantastic, potentially revolutionary, news.

The breakdown of the myelin sheath, an insulating nerve covering, is at the heart of multiple sclerosis and other central nervous system diseases. In a healthy body, repair of damaged myelin occurs spontaneously. But, in those with multiple sclerosis the body fails to repair the myelin, and the disease progresses unchecked.

The antibody Mayo developed was genetically engineered from a single cell. It functions by binding to the myelin and triggering a process of myelin repair and regeneration, called remyelination. The mice, engineered to mimic progressive multiple sclerosis in humans, were treated with a single dose of the antibody. The dose administered was quite small, the equivalent of 2mg in adults.

The use of an antibody to treat multiple sclerosis is especially exciting. The antibody occurs naturally in the immune system and, contrary to most medical interventions, has no known side effects. In fact, it's thought to be safe when administered at strengths up to 4,000 times the required dose. In a medically complex world of ever-greater concerns about side effects, that's simply stunning.

Does this settle the debate over medicine and miracles? Well, no - but, in light of such stellar news, it would seem all sides have sufficient reason to rejoice...

To read more about the study, see this from EurekAlert. To read more about multiple sclerosis, see this from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


Blogger Lisa said...

In 2006, Laura Lawes was diagnosed with Multiple Scelrosis and given a life expectancy of one year. Three years later, she was not only living strong, but she gave birth to her first son. It was called "a miracle birth". These miracles are possible today, because of the work organizations, such as yourself, have done. Here, at Disease.com (a website dedicated to disease preventions and treatments) we are inspired by stories such as this, and would like to join you in fighting this cause. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. Lets create more of these miracles; together.If you want more information on that please email me back with the subject line as your URL.

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