Dr. Louis Rosner answered:We are clearly on the verge of a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS). Whether the immune system response is the cause or the result of the disease, we can now modulate it - tune it up one way or another. In 2006 the National MS Society (NMSS) invested over $42 million in 350 new and ongoing MS research projects. The National Institutes of Health budgets about $110 million a year for MS, and pharmaceutical company studies add even more research dollars. Hundreds of studies are going on simultaneously across the country and around the world. Researchers from University of California, Los Angeles, reported that Androgel, a testosterone gel, significantly improved cognitive function and slowed brain tissue loss, the conclusion of the first large-scale trial of a sex hormone treatment for MS that followed 130 women with early relapsing-remitting MS. Further studies will involve larger numbers of patients.
Harvard investigators report that people exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis, were two times as likely to develop MS up to twenty years later.
Stanford University researchers are looking into the role of osteopontin, a protein that is a suspected link to repeated relapses and progression. What's more, the NMSS is bringing researchers together regularly to swap information and move the research as quickly as possible to the patient. November 2006 was the first meeting of fifty members of the four "Nervous System Repair" teams who have a commitment of over $15 million from the NMSS. Here is a roundup from some of their reports:
Drs. Susumu Mori, Seth Smith, and Daniel Reich reported on new MRI software on stronger MRI magnets to create pictures of fiber tract pathways in MS patients' brains and spinal cords. "These pictures may allow us to better image lesions (damaged areas) and discriminate damage to the axon from damage to myelin, rather than just seeing the inflammation."
At Johns Hopkins, Drs. Peter Calabresi and Avindra Nath determined that proteins released by immune T cells not only cause damage to nerve cells, but they inhibit nerve precursor cells that are trying to repair the brain. "By understanding which of these proteins is most important we may be able to better dampen the bad inflammation and allow natural reparative processes to occur more efficiently."We are clearly on the verge of a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS). Whether the immune system response is the cause or the result of the disease, we can now modulate it - tune it up one way or another. In 2006 the National MS Society (NMSS) invested... More