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Nanoparticles Stop Multiple Sclerosis In Mice 50

HangingChad writes "Scientists have used nanoparticles covered in proteins to trick the immune system to stop attacking myelin and halt the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice. The nanoparticles, about 200 times thinner than a human hair, are made from the same material as dissolving stitches. Scientists compare the process an immune system 'reboot'. The process keeps the immune system from treating myelin as an alien invader and to stop attacking it."
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Nanoparticles Stop Multiple Sclerosis In Mice

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  • Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by Smallpond ( 221300 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @11:01AM (#42026831) Homepage Journal

    "We administered these particles to animals who have a disease very similar to relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis and stopped it in its tracks"

    The article does not claim that this works for MS, just diseases similar to MS.

  • by Fencepost ( 107992 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @11:09AM (#42026907) Journal
    So far they've only done a Phase 1 trial which is to prove that it's not harmful, and the researchers called it "hideously expensive" at $1 million for 10 patients. If it shows clinical promise in Phase 2 and beyond, that price is likely to drop quite a bit and quite frankly the available MS treatments are also very expensive - if a single treatment is $100,000 but works for 5+ years, it may still be cheaper than what's currently available.

    More information in an NBC News article:

    And the original article (for those willing to cough up $32 for a single article or with a subscription to the Nature Biotechnology journal):
  • by JackieBrown ( 987087 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @11:33AM (#42027179)

    My wife has progressive MS. Taking Tysabri helped slow it down a whole lot but she had to stop since she tested at risk for PML.

    It has been a frustrating and traumatic 15 years for her but she has managed to stay more upbeat than I would have and her faith in God and in her family is stronger than anyone I know.

    It is an difficult disease to explain to people for the very reasons you posted. The treatments are also rapidly changing so it is important to find a doctor that specializes in MS. Us switching doctors is probably the reason my wife can still walk.

  • by More Trouble ( 211162 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @12:38PM (#42028019)

    Immature B-cells are trained in the spleen: []

    Immature T-cells are trained in the thymus. Defects in these self-tolerance processes probably lead to all autoimmune disorders.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 19, 2012 @01:29PM (#42028693)

    Some die, especially those who get it later in life or are male.


    Science has so far been unable to do anything about this disease.

    They have been able to do quite a bit. They haven't cured it but depending on how aggressive your doctor is, it really slowdown the progression. I've had MS since 1998. My primary physician, initially thought I was making up the symptoms, or maybe it was a spinal injury.

    The first neurologist basically said that I COULD go on Avonex, but it was up to me. My wife, being a nurse, said to get on it immediately. So I started with avonex once a week. She also started looking for a doctor that was going to be more aggression with treatment, since, as you pointed out, can be much worse in males.

    My second neurologist, increase the avonex to every 5 days, and also put me on Imuran (a medicine typically used after transplants to help prevent rejection). I think it was a few years later, when there was some research about steroids, when he put me on a high dosage of steroids once every 3 months (160mg orally - talk about roid-rage, the littlest things would set me off for a week or so after the medicine).

    I've had some relapses, but nothing serious, with is great after 14 years. If something like these nanoparticles work out, that would be even better.

  • Re:Not quite (Score:4, Informative)

    by reverseengineer ( 580922 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @02:23PM (#42029447)
    The researchers involved used a disease called experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). This is a disease with many general similarities with multiple sclerosis (being autoimmune responses against myelin), but there are differences in the course of the disease versus MS. EAE is considered to be closer to a rarer human disease, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) than to MS. Nevertheless, EAE has been used for decades as a model for autoimmune diseases, as it has the major advantage of being able to be reliably induced in animals. The method of immune system modulation used in this study seems general enough to apply to similar autoimmune disorders, but that has not been actually established with studies yet.
  • by Joe Torres ( 939784 ) on Monday November 19, 2012 @02:39PM (#42029669)

    I only glanced through the paper and I have a fellowship application to finish, so I'll be quick with this response.

    The process the researchers are trying to take advantage of is immune tolerance ( The authors state that the decrease in symptoms is partially due to the activity of regulatory T cells ( Regulatory T cells are a type of T cell that inhibits the immune response to certain types of antigens (foreign things that aren't harmful or parts of your self that your immune system shouldn't have responded to in the first place).

    Viruses and bacteria (as well as cancer) can and do take advantage of immune tolerance (I'm not sure about this specific mechanism) in an attempt to avoid immune destruction and this is thought as a possible mechanism for the induction of autoimmune disease.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin