Nav: Home

New hope for the treatment of multiple sclerosis

October 22, 2015

Modern scientific understanding has considered multiple sclerosis (MS) to be a disease controlled by the T cell, a type of white blood cell. Research has shown that in MS, T cells inappropriately attack myelin, the protective layer of fat covering nerves in the central nervous system, exposing them to damage.

Emerging studies have also discovered that B cells, another type of white blood cells that had previously been overlooked in MS, are significant contributors to the disease. Recent clinical trials revealed that B cell depletion Therapy (BCDT) in people with relapsing-remitting MS led to dramatic decreases in new disease activity. But how B cells contribute to the disease and the molecular mechanisms involved in the benefit of BCDT has not been fully elucidated.

The study by Dr. Amit Bar-Or at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital and colleagues and published in the October issue of Science Translational Medicine, provides groundbreaking insight into the role of B cells and their complex interaction with other immune cells in the context of MS.

"We've recently discovered that different types of human B cells exist. Some B cells have been shown to promote inflammation, while others are actually able to limit inflammation. Our study has implicated a subset of B cells, the GM-CSF producing B cells, as a key contributor in the pro-inflammatory immune cells responses at play in MS," explained Dr. Amit Bar-Or, Director of the Experimental Therapeutics Program and Scientific Director of the Clinical Research Unit, at the Montreal Neurological Institute and senior author of the study.

The study first examined samples of MS patients comparing them to healthy subjects. Researchers discovered that GM-CSF producing B cells were more frequent and more prone to activation in MS patients. This subset of B cells was able to activate pro-inflammatory responses of myeloid cells of the immune system Confirming these results in patients, the researchers found that after B cell depletion Therapy (BCDT), the myeloid cells became much less pro-inflammatory, suggesting that BCDT may work in part by decreasing the number of GM-CSF-producing B cells and in turn limiting both myeloid cell and T cell contribution to new disease activity.

"The study is significant in discovering a new way by which B cells can contribute to abnormal immune responses in MS which reinforces the rationale for the use of B cell depletion therapy. Furthermore, better identifying the particular subset of B cells responsible for new disease activity, we can look forward to more selectively targeting the "bad" B cells while leaving "good" B cells intact. This is important because B cells normally play key roles in our immune system, so more selective therapies offer the prospect of decreasing the risk of impairing the patients' immune system in the long run."

An estimated 100,000 Canadians live with multiple sclerosis; there is currently no cure for the disease. This study shows promise for the development of the next generation of targeted treatments that could one day provide a cure for this debilitating disease.
-end-
The study, conducted by Rui Li a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Amit Bar-Or at the Montreal Neurological Institute was carried out as part of the Canadian B cells in MS Team, involving Dr. Jen Gommerman at the University of Toronto and Dr. Alexandre Prat at the CHUM, and was supported by a collaborative team grant from The Research Foundation of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

About multiple sclerosis and the MS Society of Canada


Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world. MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system comprising the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. It is the most common neurological disease of young adults in Canada. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives. The MS Society provides services to people with MS and their families and funds research to find the cause and cure for this disease. Source http://www.mssociety.ca

About the Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation


The Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation funds large, innovative, multi-centre collaborative studies that will lead to major advances in the field of multiple sclerosis. A unique Canadian resource, the Foundation's main funding source is the MS Society of Canada. Source http://www.mssociety.ca

The Neuro


The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -- The Neuro, is a unique academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. Founded in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, The Neuro is recognized internationally for integrating research, compassionate patient care and advanced training, all key to advances in science and medicine. The Neuro is a research and teaching institute of McGill University and forms the basis for the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. Neuro researchers are world leaders in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience and the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders. For more information, visit theneuro.com.

McGill University Health Centre

Related Immune System Articles:

Memory training for the immune system
The immune system will memorize the pathogen after an infection and can therefore react promptly after reinfection with the same pathogen.
Immune system may have another job -- combatting depression
An inflammatory autoimmune response within the central nervous system similar to one linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) has also been found in the spinal fluid of healthy people, according to a new Yale-led study comparing immune system cells in the spinal fluid of MS patients and healthy subjects.
COVID-19: Immune system derails
Contrary to what has been generally assumed so far, a severe course of COVID-19 does not solely result in a strong immune reaction - rather, the immune response is caught in a continuous loop of activation and inhibition.
Immune cell steroids help tumours suppress the immune system, offering new drug targets
Tumours found to evade the immune system by telling immune cells to produce immunosuppressive steroids.
Immune system -- Knocked off balance
Instead of protecting us, the immune system can sometimes go awry, as in the case of autoimmune diseases and allergies.
Too much salt weakens the immune system
A high-salt diet is not only bad for one's blood pressure, but also for the immune system.
Parkinson's and the immune system
Mutations in the Parkin gene are a common cause of hereditary forms of Parkinson's disease.
How an immune system regulator shifts the balance of immune cells
Researchers have provided new insight on the role of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in regulating the immune response.
Immune system upgrade
Theoretically, our immune system could detect and kill cancer cells.
Using the immune system as a defence against cancer
Research published today in the British Journal of Cancer has found that a naturally occurring molecule and a component of the immune system that can successfully target and kill cancer cells, can also encourage immunity against cancer resurgence.
More Immune System News and Immune System Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.