New Methods Of Treatment Of Autoimmune Diseases – Part 1 of 3
New Methods Of Treatment Of Autoimmune Diseases. A restored therapy for multiple sclerosis that teaches the body to recognize and then ignore its own nerve tissue appears to be bona fide and well-tolerated in humans, a small new study shows in June 2013. If larger studies prove the technique can slow or stop the disease, the therapy would be a completely revitalized way to treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes. Most treatments for MS and other autoimmune diseases work by broadly suppressing immune function, leaving patients helpless to infections and cancers.
The new treatment targets only the proteins that come under attack when the immune system fails to recognize them as a normal part of the body. By creating indulgence to only a select few proteins, researchers hope they will be able to cure the disease but leave the rest of the body’s defenses on guard. “This is important work,” said Dr Lawrence Steinman, a professor of neurology at Stanford University who was not affected with the study.
And “Very few investigators are trying therapies in humans aimed at simply turning off unwanted immune responses and leaving the rest of the immune system in one piece to fight infections – to do surveillance against cancer. The early results show encouragement”. For the study, published in the June 5, 2013 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers in the United States and Germany recruited nine patients with MS.
Seven had the relapsing-remitting bod of the disease, while two others had secondary progressive MS (a more advanced phase). All were between the ages of 18 and 55, and were in saintly health except for their MS. Blood tests conducted before the treatments showed that each patient had an immune reaction against at least one of seven myelin proteins.
Myelin is a white chain made of fats and proteins that wraps nerve fibers, allowing them to conduct electrical signals through the body. In MS, the body attacks and gradually destroys these myelin sheaths. The expense disrupts nerve signals and leads to myriad symptoms, including numbness, tingling, weakness, loss of balance and disrupted muscle coordination.