Today research is mainly aimed on the immune system because
it is this, which attacks the myelin in the body. Many researchers are basing their work on MS drugs such as
beta interferons in order to develop similar drugs but with more specific
actions. The aim is to develop
target specific drugs, which bind with T cells preventing them from attacking
Scientists are trying to introduce tolerance back into the
body. One of the ways is through
the mucosal route where antigens are introduced through mucosal surfaces such as
the nose, lung etc. and instead of producing a response the body becomes more
tolerant to the antigen. Trials
have shown this approach to be effective upon animals.
Researchers are also looking into a completely new
approach, which involves the destruction of the existing immune system and then
the development of a new one. The
idea behind this is to produce new T cells that will no longer destroy myelin.
The immune system replacement is extremely high risk, therefore would
only be used for MS sufferers with severe rapidly progressive disease.
The following examples of research projects are currently being carried out in order to further our knowledge of the disorder:
· Identifying targets of myelin damage
· Identifying the protein in myelin
· Identifying possible genes that could lead to the development of MS
· Possible viral infections that could lead to the development of MS
There are many more areas that are being investigated in order to find out the causes of MS, therefore making it easier to find possible drugs to relieve the effect of the disorder.