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Research shows promise for treatment of MS

Scientists in the UK have taken an important step forward in understanding how to reduce the severity of multiple sclerosis (MS)

Scientists at the University of Bristol (UK) have taken an important step forward in understanding how to reduce the severity of multiple sclerosis (MS).

The research team, led by Professor David Wynick who works on the function of the neuropeptide 'galanin' in the relief of neuropathic pain, carried out tests on mice designed to express a large amount of galanin. These mice were found to be completely resistant to the MS-like disease, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and transgenic mice that contained no galanin at all developed a more severe form of the disease.

Subsequent tests on human brain tissue showed galanin to be specifically upregulated in MS lesions and shadow plaques, which are often seen in acute MS. 

These important findings suggest that galanin could have future therapeutic implications for MS.

According to Professor Wynick: "It has been known for some time that galanin plays a protective role in both the central and peripheral nerve systems; when a nerve is injured levels of galanin increase dramatically in an attempt to limit cell death. When I heard that someone had shown galanin was upregulated in Alzheimer's disease, I decided to investigate if it was also important in MS."

Based on this significant new insight into how MS might be treated, Professor Wynick's spin-out company, NeuroTargets, which owns the intellectual property relating to this work, will now seek funding to advance these findings.

24th August 2009

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