Research

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 the myelin.

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.